We have written previously about the need to publicise applications and decisions made online, due to Covid -19 restrictions preventing us from using our usual way of advertising.
We have already been publishing our weekly lists online here, but we are now trialling a new tool to show this weekly list of new applications and decisions in the form of an interactive GIS map. We hope this will be a way to view the list of applications in a way that gives a better, user-friendly and visually interesting overview.
Using the Map
Click here to go to the Weekly List Map, and the screen should show a map of the city as below:
The map shows all application and decisions advertised in the weekly list, with red dots showing where new applications have been made and blue dots showing where we have made a decision. You can use the ‘find address or place’ bar to go to a valid location or address when typed in.
If you zoom into the map, further detail is provided and the dots become shapes which show the boundary of each application:
Clicking on each dot or shape, and then on the arrow that pops up will show more detail about each application including a link to the application page on the planning portal:
This map will be updated weekly along with the weekly list. It will be trialled initially for six weeks to see how well it is used and how useful people find it. Please let us know your thoughts on this new tool by leaving a comment here on the blog, or sending an email to Planning.ServiceDelivery@edinburgh.gov.uk with your comments.
Tip 1: give us your and your clients’ email addresses
We’ll e-mail you any correspondence to speed up the process. Please make sure the e-mail address you provide is current, legible and spelled correctly.
Tip 2: how to get a 10% discount
If you provide a certificate of design, the fee will be reduced by around 10%. Please make sure you submit the correct fee.
Tip 3: how to get another 3% discount
If you tell us on your application form that you will submit a certificate of construction, you’ll get around a 3% reduction on your fees. You must submit the correct certificate on completion. If you don’t, we won’t accept your submission until we receive the full fee (without the 3% reduction).
Tip 4: stick to the nine month deadline
If you do not provide all the information we need to approve your warrant within nine months of the first technical response, we may refuse it.
Tip 5: completion certification
Make sure you supply all the documents and certificates which we outlined on the guidance when we issued your building warrant.
Tip 6: completion certificates for approved building warrants
Don’t send us completion certificates if your building warrant is not approved – we won’t process them.
We’re making marked progress with our service improvements – so far, this quarter, our team has issued first reports within 20 working days for 98% of building warrant applications. 70% of building warrants are being granted within 10 days of satisfactory revised information being submitted. Across the city, we’ve also approved £206 million of construction work since the start of 2019.
We’re committed to reducing response and processing times further. But we need your help – here are some simple things that agents and applicants don’t always do – this slows down the time it takes us to process your applications:
Paper plans still needed for approved works?
Following on from your feedback, we will no longer ask you to provide paper plans prior to us granting your electronic building warrant.
However, until we have fully developed our mobile solution, we do still need you to make available paper copies of the approved floor plans, elevations and specification for site inspections. Please make sure you have them ready for our surveyors when they come on site – they may not be able to inspect your works if you don’t.
Three simple things to help us process revised drawings more quickly
We can speed up your revised application if you:
provide a covering letter which clarifies your answer to each of the comments raised on the building warrant report
and highlight and state on the drawings and specification where you have made the amendments
when submitting plans online, make sure your drawings/support documents are correctly labelled and uploaded in correct orientation.
CCNP and notifications
We issue construction compliance and notification plans (CCNPs) with all building warrants. These specify stages of construction when you need to notify us to undertake an inspection. Please ensure these are made available to the contractor.
We’re committed to investing in people as is key to developing the building standards services which serves our great city. You might have noticed a few changes in our team in recent months.
In our recruitment drive, we promoted Daniel Henderson to team manager for the south-east team and welcomed three new assistant building surveyors – Audrey Vass, Daniel Peart and Stuart Young.
We’re also proud that, for the first time ever, we’ve given three young people the opportunity to start a great career as building standards surveyors through our new apprentice posts. Working in partnership with Heriot Watt University, Jessica Morris, Rebekah Mack and Daniel O’Hara will develop core skills at university while working on building warrant applications with our team as well as playing a key part in our service improvements.
Councillor Neil Gardiner, convener of the Council’s planning committee and development sub-committee, explained: “Investing in careers and development of our team underpins our commitment to becoming one of the top performing building standards verification services in Scotland.
“It also demonstrates our commitment to facilitating Edinburgh’s successful economic and infrastructure growth.”
The upgrade has resulted in a number of improvements for us in-house in how we handle planning and building warrant applications. The upgrade has also resulted in a number of improvements to the public portal, including:
Documents can be bulk downloaded
Draft comments will be retained after a time out
Comments can be spellchecked
Social media integration means you can easily share comments and applications via email or Twitter
Email addresses are checked to ensure they are valid before registering for the portal
Uncommon email domains are now supported – for example, .house
You will be able to track notifications of map searches
New links to ePlanning and eBuildingStandards are included for the submission of applications
In terms of how customers submit planning and building warrants, improvements include:
A ‘Client to Pay’ option for ePlanning and eBuildingstandards means agents can submit the application form without payment, and their client will receive an email with the eDevelopment reference number and telephone details for them to make the payment
For Building Standards, drawing numbers, revision numbers and document descriptions will be uploaded into our system as input by the agent/customer
Planning applications effected by the downtime will have additional time added to allow for public comments. For users who wish to check the expiry date for public comments on an application, this can be viewed in the “Important Dates” tab.
Whilst much of the upgrade was about providing greater stability in our systems and improving how we manage planning and building standards applications, we hope that you find the ‘user experience’ has been greatly improved in the process.