3. Detailed Planning Applications and Approvals

The first two stages are more niche, but once you get into the detailed planning application stages, you are now into the key area for almost every mainstream builder.

This stage is where building contractors will want to get involved. Builders should get in touch at planning application stage, as some jobs will proceed fairly quickly once planning officers have given an informal nod and a wink to the scheme. If you haven’t made contact, another contractor is likely to be already in and talking.

We always suggest that builders select the projects they chase carefully. It’s better to do a really good sales job on a few well selected leads than attempt to chase too many. Develop a simple scoring system on key criteria if you need to.  You need to make a gentle and courteous contact at an early stage; keep talking at the times they suggest. It’s imperative to build the beginnings of relationship quickly and effectively with well-judged personal contacts. Secure your ‘foothold’ in the project early on and track it through tenaciously.

As a builder, you’ll naturally be tracking the project through to client instructions, working drawings, building regulations and then to the tender list assembly. Don't lose contact through the process. If you go quiet for too long, it’s very easy for the architect to get the impression that you may not be too interested after all - and for your competition to make the running.

Besides builders, the other group who will want to look out for these planning leads are building material suppliers. This is where they should make their approach. The project will soon be moving on to building control and working drawings, making this the ideal time to get your products specified by the architect or user.

Subcontractors at the Planning Stage

Generally speaking these leads are too early for subcontractors. However, if the application is by a builder, developer or housebuilder, it may be moving forward quickly after securing planning permission.

When to Make Your Move

Since up to 25% of schemes are refused, some builders save time by waiting for planning to be granted before they get in touch. There are big downsides to this. As sales professionals we always prefer to make contact at the actual application stage.

Most projects do get through first time, even if they take ages. If you waited and the client was keen to proceed, you’ve missed your chance. Better to get in early - have a quick chat with the architect and then hold back for two or three months if required.

Secondly, if permission is refused, it may be resubmitted. By being early, we can stay with the project even if it goes to appeal, while competitors will fall away. The success rate in getting a tender with jobs that are delayed is usually much higher than with those which move quickly!

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