How to pick the perfect town-planning consultant

Posted on: 31 August 2018

The value of hiring a town-planning consultant is often overlooked when you are creating a development. You have architects to prepare your plans and a team of builders standing by ready to start the construction process, but who will pilot your design through the various stages of the planning process and ensure that the needed approvals are granted? A good town-planning consultant can be the difference between a development that forges ahead on schedule and one that remains stuck in the planning process for years or maybe even gets abandoned because too many objections were raised.

Finding the right town-planning consultant

The first step to finding the consultant you need is to ensure that anyone you consider hiring has the right qualifications and insurance. Always check that your consultant is a member of the right professional body, is bound by their Code of Conduct and will act ethically throughout your dealings with them. Qualifications and insurance are the two areas that you should check for every town planner no matter what type of development you are building. Once you get beyond that, your requirements are going to vary depending on the nature of your project.

Check their experience and specialization

Town-planning jobs vary widely, and just because someone is a registered town planner, it doesn't follow that they will be a great fit for your project. Some planning consultants work primarily with the public sector while others may concentrate on the private sector. Some work mainly with industrial or manufacturing businesses while others deal with new housing estates. Look for a consultant who has experience dealing with planning applications that are comparable to yours. You need a consultant who will understand the right approach at every stage of the process, so the more closely their experience mirrors your project, the more comfortable you can be with them knowing how to pilot your project through the planning process. If they have worked in your area before and have established relationships with the people with whom they will be dealing with, this is obviously an added bonus.

Are you comfortable with them?

Finding a town-planning consultant is about more than finding someone who is professionally competent. You are looking for someone to spearhead your project at a crucial stage. They will be guiding your vision until it gains planning consent. It is your vision, yet they will be guiding it. For that to work, it is essential that they are in tune with your view of the project. They need to understand what you consider essential and where there may be areas of compromise that could help to secure permission more easily. Always investigate a town-planning consultant thoroughly and make such you are comfortable with them before you start to work together.