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  • Writer's pictureNíall Hedderman

Architects and Planning Applications

Following my last post, where I discussed my approach to social media, I had several discussions with Architects and other professionals about being open with information. It seems to be something people are generally in favour of but are less certain about how to achieve it. My journey towards openness began almost as soon as I started my own Architectural Practice, I noticed that many of the enquiries I received were from people who were completely unaware of the costs and time-scales involved in construction projects. To address this, I started publishing my own Architects Fees and a guide to house extension costs. I originally intended this to be something I would direct clients towards after we had an initial meeting, it soon turned into something much bigger. Following the truism that, on the internet Content is King, my website began showing up in Google searches and it attracted a large number of clients who appreciated my straightforward approach to the subject. I'm also pretty sure it stopped potential time wasters from contacting me. A double bonus!

Promote Your Planning Applications. 

While I realise that openly displaying professional fees and other commercial information is not appropriate for every Architects practice, there is one area of our work which is an excellent guide to potential clients and it is already in the public domain. Planning Applications.

I created this interactive Google map over a year ago and posted it on my website. It has a pin in every location where I successfully applied for a Planning or Listed Building Application. This map gives an instant geographic picture of the areas where I work and by clicking on the pins, it takes the viewer to the relevant local authority planning department website, where the drawings and correspondence for each application are stored.

Because planning applications are public domain information and the drawings are hosted on local authority websites, it made sense to collate them into one simple graphic interface. I update the map every few months, when I can include a number of new approvals at once.

To date, I haven't done much to promote this map, perhaps I should. It shows potential clients a lot of useful information; The geographic areas I work in, the type of project I carry out and it proves I have a success rate with the planners.

For Architects who would like to be more open about their work, this is the kind of first step that should be easy, self explanatory and non controversial. 

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