Non-material amendment application: how to make changes to approved plans

Non-material amendment: approved plans changeThere is a mechanism within the planning process that allows for small changes to plans that have already been approved. The average design time to produce a set of plans that are site ready is about 16 weeks. In this time your ideas as the homeowner will evolve with the picture of a finished scheme steadily coming into sharp focus.

The first architectural output along the design and planning process are the planning-level drawings. These can be prepared in as little as one week from the time of the measured survey.  At the point of submitting the planning application you will need to have decided what your extension will look like from the outside. Big decisions will have to be made at this milestone. Decisions like the number, size and positions of windows and doors, external materials (such as tile versus brick verses timber cladding), position of walls, roof type and more will need to be locked-in.

These are important variants that will have a significant impact on the final form and function of the new space. Some homeowners find this a lot to decide in the early stages of the design process and end up signing off on plans which they are not entirely comfortable with.

Planners know this. So, the non-material amendment (NMA) mechanism allows for small changes to be made to plans that have already been approved and planning applications that have already been submitted, without needing to scrap them and start afresh. An NMA request should not fundamentally change the nature of the development, breach planning rules, move walls, increase roof height or introduce potential overlooking to neighbouring demises.

Examples of NMA requests include adding additional windows, widening door openings, changing balustrade styling, and other such ‘tweaks’ to the scheme. Making an NMA is pretty straightforward. You would need to show clearly and plainly what it is you want to change on the plan and submit this on a standard application form. The fee for submitting an NMA is set by the local authority, but is minimal for a standard householder application. 

Although a mechanism to allow for changes to be made is there, it is always preferable to board a train while it is stationary at the platform rather than chase after it once it has departed. So whether you have purchased a property with existing extension drawings that don’t quite work for you, or have changed your mind about something after submitting your own scheme, don’t worry. Making small changes to the plan is relatively uncomplicated.

If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.