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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 10:05 PM
regvw regvw is offline
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Default Planning Costs

Hi Guys,
I am stating my own self build shortly. I have a site selected and am just about to select an Architect. The house will be built in the countryside.
I am just trying to figure out what it will cost me to obtain full planning permission on the site. At the moment I have the following list of costs. The site is being given to me by my parents so I know I will have to pay stamp duty as laid down in the last budget.

I'm hoping anyone more in the know could point out anything I have missed
Thanks in advance
Reg

Engineer to create House Plans and submission500.00Planning Submission65.00Stamp Duty @ 5%2,500.00Commencement Notice to council 35.00Council fees2,000.00
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2011, 12:04 AM
onq onq is offline
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Engineers are trained to design structures, foundations, drainage works, roads entrances large civil and manufacturing works and services installations.
Engineers are not trained to design buildings for people to live in, much less private houses.

Which is probably why their house designs look like they come out of a bungalow bliss catalogue and they only charge €500 for a planning application.
So you need to appoint someone who is trained to design houses - which is an architect.

It takes a minimum of a month to do a good house design, from initial discussion though getting a feel for the site, formulating a brief with the client and developing several options for review, leading to a final approved draw up and planning lodgement.

Assuming there are still 12 months in the year, despite cut-backs, you seem to expect someone to live on €6,000 a year.
Let's go wild and assume it can all be done from start to lodgement in two weeks and he works 48 weeks a year and had plenty of work.
€500 x 24 = €12,000.

Could YOU live on €6,000 - €12,000 a year?

But let's imagine a high-powered professional able to do it all in a week.
€500 x 48 - that's the dizzy heights of €24,000 a year for a professional service on which he can be sued on matters of design.

Would you expose yourself to legal liability for €24,000?
Could you run a family and a business on €24,000?
No, would be the reasonable answer I think.

I think you need to start applying a rule of thumb to your costs.

€75-100 per square foot build cost for a compliant building.
8-10% for professional fees to include:
  • architects and engineer drawings
  • site testing
  • planning tender and working drawing details
  • limited inspections
  • certification of monies and
  • Opinions of compliance.
Skimp on that service and you may not be able to either draw down monies or sell the house on afterwards, never mind build it properly.

If you intend to build by direct labour, you're acting as contractor as well under the Safety health and Welfare Legislation.
That means you'll have to arrange for attendances for tradesmen, all insurances, scaffolding, site deliveries, site compound and make sure everyone is trained and competent to do the work they are employed to do - assuming you are capable of doing all that.
If not, my advice to you is employ a main contractor or a project manager who will organise all that for you.
No its specifically NOT the job of the architect or engineer, both of whom will more than likely be precluded by the terms of their P.I. cover and code of practice from acting as a contractor.

I also suggest you read the FAQs at the top of the forum page, including the Self-Build FAQ and the What to Ask Your Architect at your First Meeting FAQ.
They'll help you foresee some of the challenges ahead.

ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2011, 12:43 PM
RIAD_BSC RIAD_BSC is offline
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Don't worry, regvw, I won't hold you personally responsible for forcing hordes of poor, hungry architects to live in penury. I'll just try and give you some advice, from my recent experience as a punter with architects.

While the previous poster, who clearly has an unvarnished vested interest in promoting the cause of architects, was way over the top, there is some truth in what ONQ said. €500 to design your house for you and submit a planning application is extraordinarily cheap, and you'd have to question how much time is going to be spent by the designer on your project. You won't get an architect for that price... no way in hell. Even a hungry one. If you do, s/he is unlikely to put much effort into it.

Some people (mainly architects) will tell you that only an architect should design a house. But the truth is that many, many people with modest, small or straighforward projects don't use architects, because they make a judgement that they don't need one. And despite what you hear from the harbingers of doom, things generally work out fine for them.

If you have your eyes open, and you're happy to appoint an engineer and not an architect (and consequently, you're happy with the common or garden design you're likely to get for your money) then go for it. Just make sure you stress to your engineer that you expect the building to be fully compliant with all codes etc... If your engineer is qualified, then it probably will be.

I recently sought prices from architects to design a very modest extension (just design, not to oversee the build). The prices varied from around €1,500 including Vat up to €6,000 plus Vat plus ridiculous expense levels. Some architects still think it is 2006.

If I were you, I'd question the engineer closely on what you're getting for your €500. If you're happy with the answer, then don't be frightened off it by doomsdayers. If you're happy with what's proposed, and the engineer is happy to do it for that price, then beyond that you have no further responsibility re anybody else's yearly earnings. It is not your problem, it is a function of the market at the moment.
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2011, 01:12 PM
onq onq is offline
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regvw,

I wasn't getting at you particularly and I apologise if it seemed that I was.
Its hard to accept posts like yours that seem to suggest that €500 is an appropriate level of payment for making a planning application.
There is a huge area of design work that must be paid for before the proposed house gets anywhere near the local authority.
Might I respectfully suggest you take a look at some of the Room to Improve on RTE or look at them on the RTE player.

This is the current link: http://www.rte.ie/player/#v=1088065 and its up until the 24th of this month.
Obviously this is an extension as most of Dermot Bannon's work is, but some are quite extensive.

Dermot Bannon hosts the show:
http://www.rte.ie/tv/theafternoonsho...bannon916.html

These links may give you an inkling of the kinds of issues you will be addressing if this is your first build.

ONQ.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2011, 01:58 PM
onq onq is offline
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RIAD BSC,

I agree that it is not 2006, but neither is it 1986, when €500 for a planning application was even then below the norm of €1,000 for an extension and €2,000 upwards for a house, depending on size and complexity of the brief.

I am concerned that the people offering to do permissions for €500 may be; -
  • people who are not professionally qualified architects who have put more than seven years + into obtaining a prescribed qualification and achieving competence in design, and/or
  • subsidising their fees with other income, and/or
  • subsidising their fees and living off their savings.
Any of these options makes working as a professional architect unsustainable.

The role of the architect as the professional with ultimate responsibility for building design and works that are certified is again under threat.
This happened for years in Ireland when times were better, resulting in the "bungalow bliss" blight criticised today by many.

Justifying poor design that will persist for decades on grounds of cost alone will I believe yield poor rewards in later years.
Self-build is one of the few market sectors persisting in the building industry - if design is poor, is it even well insulated?

Without oversight from a professional whose design training encompasses all the regulations, not just A and C, how can compliant detailing be assured?
Will we end up with a raft of non-compliant new housing that fails to meet even basic standards of sustainability?


ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2011, 02:15 PM
RIAD_BSC RIAD_BSC is offline
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But ONQ, the point is that this is not the resonsibility of individual punters. If Engineer A agrees to do a piece of work for €500, and Punter B is happy with what s/he has been promised for their money, then that transaction is legitimate, even if architects don't like it. And Punter B certainly has no responsibility for Engineer A's financial welfare or annual earnings, or the welfare of architects generally. It is nonsesnse to suggest they do.

The reason that prices are dropping like a stone is because we have just had a building boom and there are too many architects left over from that boom. Therefore, many of them need to find other jobs or go somewhere else to work, before prices and the market will stabilise.

Just because someone has chosen the career of architect, that does not mean that the rest of us are obliged to pay the fees necessary to keep that person in their job. That sounds like right-wing pure market economy nut-jobbery, but it isn't. It is common sense.

Ireland needs for many of its architects to go bust or to go away, because the sheer volume of them (vis-a-vis the levels of work out there) are creating a market distortion, which is resulting in engineers designing bungalows for €500.

In the meantime, punters are entitled to make hay while the sun shines re prices, and they should not be criticised for it. Building professionals made plenty of hay between 1999 and 2006, at the expense of punters. Some of the same architects who are now giving out about being undercut are the same ones who thought nothing of charging punters through the nose during the boom. Pendulums swing both ways.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2011, 05:37 PM
onq onq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIAD_BSC View Post
Ireland needs for many of its architects to go bust or to go away, because the sheer volume of them (vis-a-vis the levels of work out there) are creating a market distortion, which is resulting in engineers designing bungalows for €500.
RIAD_BSC,

You're confusing the symptom [dearth of work now] with the cause [over-stimulated, unregulated growth].

You're also forgetting that it was market distortion in terms of tax incentives and 20% CGT that led to the artificial boom.
The unit price wasn't determined by the market, it was determined by developers investing taking advantage of tax incentives.
This you had people who had just made millions competing against first time buyers and artificially raising the price of new residences.

You also seem to be endorsing pricing that undermines both social contracts and the principle of reward for third level achievement.
Anything an economy does must be supported by those two planks together with an innovative business sector and consumer confidence.
All four planks of the economy have been seriously affected by the previous distortion of the market which you seem content to ignore for now.

I'll leave it there and if you want to continue this I'll see you in The Depths or wherever - let me know.


ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.

Last edited by onq; 05-01-2011 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Originally omitted to mention artificial stimuli that led to the economic boom
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2011, 06:10 PM
GL01 GL01 is offline
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500 to design a house to planning.
Wow.

Regvw remember this is your house that you and your family will live in day in, day out....do you really want the cheapest option?

I suggest you do some research (searching through this forum for example) into what goes in to bringing a set of drawings to a level of completion sufficent to allow an application to the planning authority and talk to this engineer about what exactly will be done for this fee. There is a lot more work involved than meets the eye.

Perhaps the person quoting you is willing to put lots of hours in for a small fee, or perhaps they will simply copy a previous design / a design out of a plan book, and drop it down on your site. You need to draw up a formal agreement about what will be delivered for a fee, and it would be worth your while to educate yourself about this before you sign off on it.

Also be aware in the difference between an engineer and an architect, they are completely different disciplines.

Good luck!
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2011, 06:21 PM
regvw regvw is offline
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Hi Guys,
let me just clarify on the architect point, my needs are basic, I know what I want and I have drawings.All I want the architect to do is make some changes If this was 2006 I would be using an engineer but now arcitects are plenty so I am using one of them. Maybe 500 is a bit too litttle but it wont be much more.

So apart from that I heard someone say I need to pay 5000 to the council for a self build now, does anybody know if this is correct.

Thanks
Reg
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2011, 08:15 PM
onq onq is offline
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+1 What GL01 has posted.

regvw,

It would actually costs me money to work for fees like that.
Hopefully you won't expect the architect to supply the ordnance survey maps and pay for the planning advert and site notice out of the €500.

Carbon Neutral designs will be required in 2013 and we're just two years away from that.
Passive House design principles are known now, so there is little or no excuse for building a house that costs a fortune to heat.
To achieve the best results in the most cost effective way you will need to integrate the house design, siting, orientation, heating and servicing packages.
Given the state of this and the last two winters, I'd say it would be hugely wise for you to future proof your building like this, from both a financial and personal health outlook.

Still at the end of the day there is a deal to be done, and if an architect is willing to design a compliant building for you for €500 taking all thsi into account, then well done and good luck to you both.
However - and its a big however - the regulations are changing all the time and you should be aiming for best practice in terms of Carbon Neutral to Carbon Plus design as well as rainwater harvesting.

A Carbon Plus house can actually allow you to sell electricity back to the national grid system, while rainwater harvesting will lower your piped water costs, which will have benefits for you in the future when water charges are imposed or the water supply system is privatised.

A word of warning - there are tales being told over on boards.ie about bottom price builders who agree the tender price, get selected, take the first payment, then disappear, leaving the owner with a huge headache, substandard work to complete and no-on else anywhere near the accepted tender price.

Anyway, over to you - just remember, people have to live and they do strange things to make ends meet.
You get what you pay for.


ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
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  #11  
Old 05-01-2011, 10:56 PM
regvw regvw is offline
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ONQ,
You seem really upset that we are not living back in 2006, arent we all . Things have changed, we all have to understand that. None of us are earning what we did back then. Are you really telling me I should pay someone a few thousand euro to alter a few drawings for me.

On your second point, people have been dishonest since day dot and its not the recession thats causing builders to run away after the first stage payment.

I am interested in the rain harvesting, the carbon plus I dont rate much.

Reg
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2011, 11:44 PM
onq onq is offline
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regvw

You have a unique site and you and your family are unique.
If you are employing a designer you deserve the best, not amendments.
Despite what I have stated above, "the best" need not cost a fortune in fees.

BTW I don't have a fixation with 2006 - prolly because 2005 was my best year.
My idea of what constitutes a reasonable level of fees doesn't fixate on a particular year.
As a sole trader my income never varied by more than 10% even in the so-called boom years.
That's the way it is for many sole traders who like to give give a personal and professional service.

I've been the guy in the big office and found the job satisfaction reduced when client contact lessened.
But that's the name of the game when you're pumping out commercial schemes - you can become quite detached.

To stay competitive my fees have remained static since 1998, when they were just below the commercial practice average.
Since then the cost of living soared and my fees were stretched thinner and thinner - until 2009, that is, and this year: disasters both.
I saw the slump coming and designed my office to run on half fees for an extended period - but I didn't design it to run on 10% of fees or less.

Circa €2,000 would be a reasonable fee for a planning lodgement, allowing for all the design work that goes into it, dealing with the local authority, checking compliance etc.
For that you should be getting a concentrated two weeks of professionally executed work, probably spread out over a month or six weeks.
In my experience this length of time is essential in order to develop a good design.

Its not the architect that takes so long to get his head around the design, its the to-ing and fro-ing with the client.
You could probably argue the toss on that figure but not by a huge amount if the work is to provide an income.

The rain harvesting and water recycling make a lot of sense, but don't deny the carbon plus.
Hard to achieve, at least try for it and hope to attain carbon neutral.

My best advice is for you to employ someone who knows his building physics to design the envelope, structure, glazing percentages, orientation and building systems.
This will repay dividends for the life of the building in terms of reduced building costs, increased light and amenity, good ventilation, no damp problems and good health.

FWIW

ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2011, 12:41 PM
onq onq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regvw View Post
Hi Guys,
I am stating my own self build shortly. I have a site selected and am just about to select an Architect. The house will be built in the countryside.
On a separate but material matter regvw, if you're building in a rural area without mains drainage, have you had the site inspected by an approved agent and had your site suitability test done and been advised on a treatment solution agreed that is compliant?

Here is a useful presentation in powerpoint format from Wexford Co Co.
http://www.wexford.ie/wex/Department...le,7539,en.PPT

Also here is a page on site suitability testing which carries a link to a list of registered agents in wexford.

http://www.wexford.ie/wex/Department...bilityTesting/

I know you may not be building in Wexford, but AFAIK this is now a general requirement for all sites not serviced by mains drainage.
Your architect can advise you further, as well advise on reed bed systems which may be a better option for you to consider:

I have seen posts elsewhere suggesting that Wexford County Council may be carrying out trials on Reed Bed systems.
I have also seen posts suggesting that EPA are installing Reed Beds at their HQ at Johnstown Castle.
I cannto confirm same and you will want to engage with your local authority and do research.
If you have the land and its suitable these can be a very interesting option.
Biodiversity goes up - a planning gain which can be useful sometimes.

Here aer some links you may find useful:

http://www.wetlandsystems.ie/wastewatertreatment.html

http://www.constructireland.ie/vb/showthread.php?p=5514

http://www.theorganiccentre.ie/node/1260

However as with any water feature there can be a risk to children and animals so these are normally fenced off in some way.

ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2011, 03:16 PM
RIAD_BSC RIAD_BSC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onq View Post
RIAD_BSC,

You're confusing the symptom [dearth of work now] with the cause [over-stimulated, unregulated growth].

You also seem to be endorsing pricing that undermines both social contracts and the principle of reward for third level achievement.

I'll leave it there and if you want to continue this I'll see you in The Depths or wherever - let me know.


ONQ.
I agree with you on one thing, ONQ, which is that the Depths/Letting off steam is the best place for this debate, as we are hijacking the OP's thread. I'll get to the OP in a second.

But before I go, I don't think I am confusing symptoms with causes, but you may be confusing your perception of how the market should be with actual market reality. Less construction work + lots of architects = lower prices for consumers. It's a simple equation, although unfortunate if you're an architect, I concede.

As for "social contracts" and "the principle of reward for third level achievement", I think that just sums it up for me. I, or the OP, should not by expected to pay over the market price for an architect just because s/he went to college and thinks the rest of us should "reward" them for it. It's like the L'Oreal ad ("because I'm worth it").

Instead, I'll just hire the best value guy (which is sometimes the cheapest guy, sometimes not) who also equally went to college. Lots of people went to college. I did, too. But I don't expect to get paid over the going rate just because I have a masters degree. I won't hire the guy who charges over market value until he drops his prices to market value.

I take no pleasure from the plight of the architectural profession, none at all. But it is a buyer's market, and the market sets all the prices... not fairness, nor reward for degrees, nor wishful thinking from architects.

To the OP, I think the consensus from all posters on this thread is that you should check with your architect or engineer, or whichever one it is you are hiring, what exactly you are getting for your 500. It sounds too cheap, which means the standard of work may be commensurate with this. But if you're happy with what you're going to get for the price, go for it. And don't be persuaded otherwise by advocates for the welfare of the architectural profession. They have a vested interest in nudging you towards higher prices.
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  #15  
Old 06-01-2011, 05:00 PM
onq onq is offline
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Answered in The Depths in Letting Off Steam on AAM
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  #16  
Old 06-01-2011, 07:28 PM
regvw regvw is offline
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Guys, thanks for all your comments, Onq thanks for the links, I will read them in detail shortly. You definetly have all given me food for thought.
One thing I will do is come back to you guys when I pay the Arc so you can see what way it went
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  #17  
Old 06-01-2011, 08:26 PM
onq onq is offline
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You're very welcome regvw and thanks for undertaking to revert later.
Its very useful for both contributors like myself and readers of AAM to have current info.

I'd be a lot more interested to hear what stuff you took on board re the design of the house.
Standard bungalow bliss designs are not the best in terms of how they use incident light and orientation.

Bet of luck with it.

ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
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