Advice Center

Advice Center

Rendering: Your Questions Answered

Here is some information about rendering you may need or want to know.

What is a rendered wall?  

Rendering is applying cement on an external wall of a building to make it look smooth or textured.  

Does rendering add value to your home? 

Rendering your home is a good choice to increase value to your home. It has been known to have a positive impact on the energy efficiency of the home. 

Is rendering waterproof? 

In addition, rendering is very waterproof. Water is beat back from the surface as it forms droplets and rolls off. Water will not be absorbed. 

Do you need planning permission? 

As long as the materials used have a similar look to the existing materials on the property you will not need to apply for planning permission. It would fall under permitted development. The only time you do apply for planning permission rendering is when you decide to change materials or you’re working on a listed building. 

What is planning permission? 

Planning permission is official permission from your local council. The permission granted is so you can carry out certain types of construction work on a new or existing building. However, sometimes you won’t always need planning permission as it may fall under permitted development. 

What is permitted development? 

Furthermore, permitted development rights are an automatic grant of planning permission. This allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. But, you must follow permitted development guidelines. 

Why would someone render a wall? 

Finally, this can hide poor-quality brickwork, which is usually found in older properties. However, it can create a smooth and modern finish. Rendering your wall can create a waterproof finish making the home more durable and less prone to damp. 

Contact us

Advice Center

Corner Beads: What Are They And Why Do We Have Them?

Here is some information you may want to know about corner beads. 

What are corner beads? 

A corner bead is a metal material that is used on the corner where the two ends of a drywall meet. This creates a sharp and polished finish. Corner beading makes the edges strong to prevent any type of damage.  

Do you have to use corner beads?  

Yes. You should always use a corner bead for internal corners. However, external corners only need to be beaded if they have been rendered.  

What is a rendered wall? 

Rendering is applying cement on the external walls of a building to create a smooth or textured look. 

What is the difference between rendering and plastering? 

Plastering is for internal walls whereas rendering involves around external walls.  

How do you get a corner bead to stay in place? 

This needs to be firmly in place and affix with drywall screws.  

Contact us

Advice Center

Here’s all to know about getting a Location plan

What is a location plan?  

A location plan is a document that may be required by a planning authority, as a part of a planning application. A location plan provides an illustration of the proposed development in its surrounding area.  

It must be based on a up to date map and at an identified standard metric scale.  

A site location plan should include: 

  • A 1:250 or 1:2500 scale 
  • A red line marked up to show where planning is sought, or with a blued line to show any other property owned on the plan.  
  • A larger area of land than a ‘block plan’. (Often called a ‘site plan’) 
  • The general locality of a site requiring planning consent  
  • Mapping features like property outlines, roads, and other geographical boundaries  
  • A north point and copyright information.  

Will you need a location plan?  

Most planning applications need a location plan which shows the proposal in its surrounding context.  

How much does a location plan cost?  

In addition, locations plans can vary on costs depending on the scale chosen, the mapping chosen, and the company. A plan at 1:1250 scale typically costs between £8 and £20. Whereas, a 1:2500 scale plan costs between £55 and £75.   

The difference between a location plan and a site plan –  

A location plan is different from a site plan, which is specifically focused on providing more detail of the development within the site boundaries. However, a block plan may give a slightly wider illustration of the immediate area surrounding the site.  

How to get a plan –  

If you are unsure about what you need or how to apply for a locations plan, you can get in contact with Pro Arkitects and we will be able to help. Furthermore, use the contact us button down below and a member of our staff will be able to advise and assist you.  

Contact us

Advice Center

Where are all of the Areas of outstanding natural beauty?

What are areas of outstanding natural beauty? 

An area of outstanding natural beauty is land protected by the Countryside and rights of way act 2000 (CROW Act). It protects the land to conserve and enhance its natural beauty. The CROW Act sets out the roles and responsibilities that different organisations must follow to manage AONBs.  

How many areas of outstanding natural beauty are there? 

There are 46 AONB in the throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Areas of natural beauty cover about 18% of the UK countryside.  

No other country in the world has Areas of outstanding natural beauty.  

Are AONB and national parks the same?  

So, national parks are legally obliged to provide public recreational opportunities. Whereas, areas of natural beauty are not. In addition, Natural England is responsible for designing AONBs in England and advising the government and others on how they should be protected and managed.  

What is the largest AONB?  

The largest AONB is the Cotswolds, which is 787 square miles. However, the smallest AONB is the Isle of Scilly, which is 6.2 square miles.  

Where are the UK’s areas of outstanding natural beauty? 


  • Firstly, Arnside & Silverdale 
  • Blackdown Hills  
  • Cannock Chase 
  • Chichester Harbour  
  • Chilterns 
  • Cornwall  
  • Cotswolds 
  • Cranborne Chase  
  • Dedham Vale  
  • Dorset  
  • East Devon  
  • Forest of Bowland  
  • High Weald 
  • Howardian Hills 
  • Isle of Wight 
  • Isles of Scilly  
  • Kent Downs  
  • Lincolnshire Wolds 
  • Malvern Hills 
  • Mendip Hills  
  • Nidderdale 
  • Norfolk Coast  
  • North Devon  
  • North Pennines 
  • As well as, North Wessex Downs 
  • Northumberland Coast  
  • Quantock Hills  
  • Shropshire Hills  
  • Solway Coast 
  • South Devon  
  • Suffolk Coast & Heaths 
  • Surrey Hills  
  • Tamar Valley  
  • Finally, Wye Valley  


  • Firstly, Anglesey  
  • Clwydian Range & Dee Valley  
  • Gower 
  • Llyn  
  • Finally, Wye Valley  

Northern Ireland:  

  • Firstly, Antrim Coast and Glens  
  • Binevenagh  
  • Causeway Coast  
  • Lagan Valley  
  • Ring of Gullion  
  • Sperrin  
  • Strangford Lough

Contact us

The largest AONB is the Cotswolds, which is 787 square miles. However, the smallest AONB

is the Isle of Scilly, which is 6.2 square miles.  

Advice Center, Architecture & Building

When is the best time to build a house?

Many people wonder when the best time of year to start construction and build a home is. Out of all of the seasons, spring is usually the best time to start your project. However, materials are often cheaper in the autumn or winter, this is because there is less demand.  

Why is spring the best time to build?  

There are multiple reasons why spring is the perfect time to start building your dream home. Here is a list of the reasons:  

The weather is better –  

In spring the weather is getting warmer and the skies stay clear which is perfect for working outdoors. Because of this, there will be fewer issues when it comes to the logistics and building of your construction projects. Whereas, if you start your project in the winter, the cold, wet, and harsh weather conditions can make it difficult for the builders to work. Starting a project in the colder weather is also not ideal for you as a homeowner because you are open to the elements, and it could take longer because of delays.  

The days are longer –  

Due to daylight saving times, in spring you get more hours of sunlight to work with. This is easier for builders because if they get behind schedule, they are able to work later without the worry of it getting dark. The longer the days the faster the project will be completed. So, doing construction in the spring/ summer is beneficial for both the homeowner and the contractors.  

Get a head start on the build –  

Summer is generally the busiest time of year for contractors and builders. So, the longer you wait and put off the construction the harder it will be to find contractors. This is why spring is the perfect time to start scheduling contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc. 

Contact us

Advice Center

All you need to know about tree surgeons, arboriculture, and TPO trees

What is a tree surgeon?  

Tree surgery is a highly specialised job that requires evidence of the correct knowledge, skills, and experience. A tree surgeon carries out various work on trees, including identifying hazards, assessing the tree’s health, planting, felling, pruning, and maintenance.  

The difference between an arborist and a tree surgeon –  

What is arboriculture?  

Arboriculture is the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other woody plants.  

Although many people think the two jobs are the same, they’re actually quite different. An arborist requires more formal education, in order to be certified, they must go through extensive training. Such as,  

  • Firstly. courses in tree biology, tree growth patterns, and much more  
  • A long certification program with the international society of arboriculture  
  • Pass the final exam after the program  
  • Finally, continue with ongoing education to maintain certification  

The arborist assesses the trees and their condition. If the trees are showing signs of a disease or insect infestation, the arborist is able to diagnose it and create a treatment plan.  

Whereas a tree surgeon may not have as many requirements as an arborist, they still require extensive experience and knowledge. Tree surgery must be performed by a trained hand. Tree surgeons are responsible for accurate removal. They know how to cut down trees so it doesn’t damage nearby buildings or other trees.  

Generally, an arborist will take their diagnosis and give it to a tree surgeon, who will take the course of the treatment.  

Tree protection orders (TPOs) 

Some trees have TPOs placed on them by local authorities, to ensure the responsible management of trees in the area. To carry out any work on the trees, permission must be sought out from the local authority before work commences. Any trees in conservation areas must be treated the same as those with TPOs.  

A TPO makes it a criminal offense to cause or permit someone to cut down or uproot trees protected by that order, without the local authority’s permission. Anyone found guilty of such an offense is liable to prosecution, and an unlimited fine.  

How much is a TPO fine?  

The maximum fine for destroying trees is £20,000. And it costs £2500 for anyone who doesn’t completely destroy trees but has carried out some other works without consent.  

Contact us

Advice Center

All you should know about Change of use planning

What is change of use planning?  

A change of use land or building requires planning permission if it constitutes a material change of use.  

What is a material change of use in planning?  

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a building. So, that it or any part of it is used as a dwelling where it wasn’t before.  

When does a change of use require planning permission?  

Typically, if it’s proposed to change from one use class to another, you will need planning permission. Most external building work associated with a change of use is also likely to need planning permission. However, if both present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘class’ you will often not need planning permission.  

What are use classes?  

The town and country planning order 1987 sets out various categories of use referred to as use classes. Which relate to the use of land and buildings.  

Use   The use class up to 31st August 2020Use class from 1st September 2020 
General industrial  B2 B2 
Storge or distribution  B8 B8 
Hotels, boarding, and guest houses  C1 C1 
Residential institutions  C2 C2 
Dwelling houses  C3 C3 
House in multiple occupation (HMO) C4 C4 
Non-residential: health centres, clinics, nurseries, day centres  D1 
Gymnasiums, indoor recreations D2 E  
Shops other than F2 A1 E  
Financial and professional services  A2 E  
Cafe or restaurant  A3 
Non-residential: schools, educations centers, museums, libraries, public halls, law courts, places of worship D1 F1 
Shops selling mostly essential goods, with no other facility within 1,000m A1  F2 
Hall or meeting place for the use of the local community D2 F2 
Indoor or outdoor swimming pools, skating rinks, and outdoor sports D2 F2 
Cinemas, concert halls, and dance halls D2 Sui Generis 
Pub, wine bar, or drinking establishment A4 Sui Generis 
Hot food takeaway A5 Sui Generis 
Theatres, large HMO, hostels, petrol stations, shops selling motor vehicles, retail warehouse, nightclubs, taxis, arcades, casinos, funfairs, betting offices, payday loan shops Sui Generis Sui Generis  

How long is change of use planning?  

Planning applications may take up to eight weeks to be processed. Larger or more complex projects may take longer for the planning to be accepted. If you speak with your local planning officer, they may be able to advise you on when you may get a decision.  

Contact us

Advice Center

Conservation Area: Your Questions Answered.

A conservation area is a place of special architectural or historic interest, which is considered worthy of protection. 

What does it mean to live in a conservation area? 

Living in a conservation area can make it more difficult to make changes to your home. You will be able to alter your home however, you will need to apply for planning permission for the smallest alterations. For example, replacing your doors and windows. 

Is a conservation area the same as AONB?

AONB stands for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are similar but are not the same. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area in the countryside in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. 

Is it worth living in a conservation zone? 

In addition, living in a conservation area is likely to increase the value of your home as your neighbourhood is very appealing and will stay that way. 

How many conservation areas are in the United Kingdom? 

There is an estimate of 10,000 conservation areas in England. 

Can you build in a conservation district?  

Permitted development rights may be restricted. So, you will have to apply for full planning permission. 

Can I change the exterior of my house?  

Permitted development allows you to alter the exterior of your home looks as long as you build with materials that match the property’s existing look. Furthermore, if you’d like to change your property exterior look completely you will need to apply for full planning permission. 

Who are responsible for conservation areas? 

Your local authority will be responsible for conservation areas in your town. 

Contact us

Permitted development allows you to alter the exterior of your home looks as long as you build with materials that match the property’s existing look. Furthermore, if you’d like to change your property exterior look completely you will need to apply for full planning permission. 

Advice Center, Planning Permission

Learn all about permitted development rights

What are permitted development rights?  

Permitted development rights are an automatic grant of planning permission that allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.  

What you can do under permitted development –  

While it’s essential to check with your local council first, permitted development rights should provide you with automatic planning permission for:  

  • Firstly, a small extension  
  • Single storey extension  
  • Double storey extension  
  • Demolition  
  • Certain change of use  
  • Loft conversion  
  • Garage conversion  
  • Basement conversion  
  • A porch less than 3m3  
  • Internal alterations  
  • Finally, rooflights or dormer windows not facing the highway  

When are the rights more restricted?  

In some areas of the country, generally known as designated areas, permitted development rights are more restricted. For example:  

  • A conservation area 
  • National Park  
  • Area of outstanding natural beauty  
  • Or a world heritage site 

You will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work that don’t need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.  

How much can you extend under permitted development  

For a large single-storey rear extension on a detached house, you can extend between 4m up to 8m. Whereas, for any other house can be extended 3m up to 6m, under permitted development. However, for larger projects, you may be likely to go through the neighbour consultation scheme. If your neighbours raise concerns, then your local authority will decide whether your plans can go ahead.  

In addition, you can build a single-storey side extension up to half the width of the existing dwelling. A single-storey rear extension up to 4m in length for a detached dwelling and 3m long for a semi or a terrace house; and, in certain circumstances, 3m two-storey rear extensions.  

Contact us

Advice Center

All there is to know about listed building consent

listed building consent definition  

Listed building consent is required for all works of demolition, alteration, or extension to a listed building. That affects its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.  

What is a listed building?  

A listed building is a building or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest.  

Historic buildings also add to the quality of our lives. Being an important aspect of the character and appearance of our towns, villages, and countryside.  

In England and Wales, there are 3 categories of listed buildings – 

  • Grade 1 (2.5% of buildings)- Buildings of exceptional interest. For example, the Liverpool Anglican cathedral.  
  • Grade 2*(5.5% of buildings)- Buildings with particular importance. For example, Buckingham Palace.  
  • Grade 2 (92% of buildings)- Buildings of special architectural or historic interest. A grade 2 listed building is a UK building or structure that is of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it. 

You always need listed building consent  

You still need listed building consent to do urgent works to a listed building. Even if the works are needed because a dangerous structure or other legal notice has been served. Even if it’s not practical to get consent in advance, you must give written notice to the council as soon as possible.  

It is a criminal offense to carry out work without having listed building consent. Not all projects require consent, only the works that affect the character of the building.  

Carrying out building works to a listed building or changing it in any way without consent can result in court action and legal penalties. And it is also illegal to fail to comply with an enforcement notice.   

According to the planning act 1990 under section 9. Doing work without consent to the building can result in a person, being fined up to £20,000. And/or up to 6 months imprisonment.  

In addition, the maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine. In determining the fine a judge must have regard to any financial benefit which has accrued or appears likely to accrue to the wrongdoer so as to deny them any benefits.  

It is also an offense for anyone who would do damage to a listed building. Or to do anything which causes or is likely to result in damage to the building with the intention of causing damage. Damage to the building by an unauthorised person other than the owner or occupier would be criminal damage under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.