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Amending an architect's design

Many enquiries in the past few years have come from individuals with planning permission for a contemporary home. While researching their construction options and weighing up the costs and benefits, they discover Facit Homes and wonder whether we could be the solution.

The main question asked is whether we can build the design created by their architect with our advanced structural system, the Facit Chassis™. The answer is yes!

We keep the overall intent of a design, but there is a little tinkering that happens to ensure that we can deliver a high performance home within that concept.

Minor design amendments to a planning permission

When design changes are made to a project with planning permission, one of three types of planning approval is required. A non material amendment, a minor material amendment or a full application.

Applications for non material or minor design amendments allow us to build homes that have been designed by other architects without submitting a new application.

A single storey, timber-clad home.

However, every project is unique and one recent Facit Home didn't follow this expected route. It required an entirely new application for a simple update. We'll explain why.

An unusual example

With planning permission for a single storey eco home to replace the stables on the plot of land attached to their home, our latest customers were open to a new way of building and looking for a construction route that carried more certainty and cost transparency.

Once we discovered that we were a good fit for their project, we optimised their design for construction by making a few simple changes to the exterior.

These changes allowed for the deeper roof of our super-insulated Facit Chassis™ and improved the energy efficiency of the build.

However, unusually for a relatively small design change, we had to submit a second full planning application.

Elevations in the previous application (above) and in our application (below).

The new application

For small design changes like our roof amendment, we expect to complete a minor material amendment application and submit new drawings to update the existing planning permission.

However, in this case, the plans were not listed as a condition of the previous approval and so rather than being able to submit an amendment to those plans, we had to submit a new application.

Thankfully, this carried no additional planning fees for our customer because it was a resubmission for the same plot and scheme within 12 months of the application.

Planning success

Invaluable skills, experience and planning expertise in the studio has allowed us to complete successful applications like this for over 10 years.

The previous planning application submitted by local architects was instrumental to our success because the conditions of approval were clearly outlined. Knowing these meant that we could include specific information that would meet those terms and remove the need for those conditions in the second approval.

Our Director, Rhys, worked closely with our in-house architects, who provided the new design information, and put together the planning application. Our planning consultant is an expert in the technicalities of such things and provided us with an anticipated view of the council.

One condition of the previous permission was related to the floor level. The permission detailed that the floor level had to be submitted for approval before work above ground could commence. We provided the level in our second application, ensuring that our permission would have no pre commencement conditions that could delay us from starting the build.

Updates to the existing design

The contemporary design for the 165m2 home had a flat roof, large windows and eco aspirations so it was the perfect starting point for a Facit Home.

Adapting the design to facilitate our energy efficient roof structure, we increased the height of the roof by 350mm, which subsequently increased the overall volume. The development of a replacement dwelling on green belt land always has a limit for the percentage of volume increase, which depends on the local planning authority, but is often up to 25-30%. Here, the local authority allowed a 30% volume increase.

The site itself also carried specific restrictions on the height of the new dwelling and our increase could have been contentious but, as the additional volume was only included to accommodate our super efficient Facit Chassis™ roof and did not add to the habitable space, it felt reasonable and we were confident of approval, which was later granted.

Have you got a design or a plan for a new home?

Our construction approach allows us to deliver designs created by others. We are experts at building beautiful, contemporary and energy efficient schemes within challenging planning conditions - whether with a minor design amendment or full planning application.

If you’re looking for fixed prices, a turnkey solution or a sustainable method of construction then get in touch today. Call Rhys in the studio on 020 3034 0720 or email us at


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