Planning permission can be a minefield if you are not used to the regulations and requirements in your state or territory. Using experienced town planning consultants, whose day to day job involves dealing with all the complexities and fluctuations in the planning legislation, can save you time and therefore money. Let’s look at the top five factors to consider when deciding who to hire to carry out this important role on your behalf.
Make sure they are suitably qualified
You need to ensure that planning consultants hold the relevant qualifications and expertise in the field in which they operate. This means checking to see if they are licensed to practice in the state or territory in which they are based. Reputable firms will publish details on their website and be happy to give you details about the relevant professional bodies to which they belong. Members of a professional organisation do have to work to an approved code of conduct, and this sets out the required standards of ethics and practice. They will also have to maintain their continual professional development, and this gives a potential client confidence and trust in the organisation who employs licensed practitioners.
Ask for references
Professional planning consultants will provide you with references from other satisfied clients, so ask about other people who used them for a similar project. There may also be good news stories and testimonials on their website that you can research and review as well. They will showcase some of the project work they have been involved with, therefore, you can review the quality of the finished work and get an idea of the type of renovation works or new builds on which they were able to help previous customers attain planning permission.
Check out their area of expertise and local knowledge
Everyone has a different sort of skill and expertise – if you are aiming to build your own home, you want to have planning consultants who specialise in this area. If the firm you choose is restricted to working with waste and minerals for example, then are they equipped to support your project? Have they had experience working in your area and dealing with the local planning laws and council officers? In situations like these, local knowledge is very important.
Communication and transparency
This is really key because they will be guiding you through a number of legislative processes and they need to be able to communicate with you. When discussing the project with the planning consultants, are they taking on board your vision and requirements and do they give you practical advice on what is going to be reasonable? When discussing prices and fees, are they open and transparent about the costs involved? Don’t forget to get a few quotes so you can compare value for money. Also do they return your calls or emails when they say they will? You have to be clear about the service they are offering, so there should not be any hidden costs.
Honest and direct
This is more about whether you feel happy working with the team of planning consultants after checking out all the above. If they have been very honest about your chances of success and offered you options to review your plans so they do meet planning regulations, rather than let you go ahead and fail, these are the people to do business with.
Professional and experienced planning consultants will be prepared to answer your questions and spend time with you to ensure that you are all on the same page, therefore follow through on the above tips to hire the best town planning consultant for your project.