Changes Coming Soon to Planning

As part of our efforts to improve our service and adapt for the future, there are two changes to the Planning Service coming soon:

Pre-Application Advice Service

At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee approved minor changes to our Pre-Application Advice Service.

It was recognised that the service is working well since it was introduced in 2019, but experience has highlighted the need for an additional option for a site visit for local developments. This will be available from 1 April 2021.

The Planning Committee also agreed a 5% increase in all Pre-Application Advice Service charges received on or after 1 April 2021, in line with the Council’s budget projections for 2021/2022.

Non-Material Variation Applications

At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee also agreed to additional discretionary charges for the processing of Non-Material Variation applications.

This will improve customer service and consistency across the service.

Details regarding procedures are being finalised in advance going live on 1 April 2021, but it is anticipated that Non-Material Variation applications will be required to be submitted using a standardised form, accompanied by the relevant drawings and the appropriate fee.  

This process will only apply to granted planning applications and will not be applicable to Listed Building Consents, Conservation Area Consents or Advert Consents.

Full details can be found in the Planning Committee report. Further communications regarding both of these matters will be published in advance of the changes commencing on 1 April 2021.

Weekly List Interactive Map

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:

screen1

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:

screen2

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:

screen3

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.

Building Standards: Six top tips for your building warrant applications

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.

Building Standards: Improving our services – what you can do to help

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.

Building Standards – New futures

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.

Our apprentices recently visited a site with Senior Surveyor Douglas Collins, who has now retired, where they met Steven McGuire from CALA Homes.

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.”