Jargon Buster

Unpacking the terminology that goes hand in hand with a build is your first step to a smooth running project.


The most senior of the project team, the architect will provide the blueprint and framework for the project. This includes listening to your brief, surveying your home, creating initial drawings showing existing and proposed works, employing all necessary trades (from structural engineers and surveyors to interior designers) and
overseeing the build to satisfactory completion. They charge a fee based on a percentage of the cost of the works

Building Completion Certificate:
Given by Building Control on completion of the work and after sight of damp proofing, gas, electricity and any other relevant certification

Building Regulation Drawings:
Detailed architectural drawings, specifications and calculations to show that the construction will comply with UK building regulations

Computer Aided Design, or CAD, is used for existing elevations, plans and 3D models

Construction Design Management, or CDM, is a regulation concerning the health and safety for the project site, to be adhered to by the builder and administered by the architect or designated officer

Conservation Area:
Designated by the council as areas of special architectural or historic interest. Wandsworth has 45. Check whether you are in one via their website. If you are, it will impact on what extensions you can do without planning permission, and also what permissions you are likely to be granted.

Contract Administrator/Project Manager:
The working title of an architect managing both the project and the client/builder relationship

Community Infrastructure Levy, or CIL, is a fee charged on developments by local authorities and the Mayor of London to fund infrastructure in the local area. It’s payable on all work which is granted full planning permission by the council that involve an increase in net floor space of over 100m2, or that create new residential units

Lawful Development Certificate: You may wish to apply for this if you are considering works that are permitted development, both for peace of mind and to avoid any issues if and when you decide to sell. This is not the same as planning permission but is proof that your household building work is lawful

Listed Buildings:
Buildings of special architectural or historic interest, listed by the government. Wandsworth has around 500.
Listed Building Consent is required to carry out works of alteration or demolition on listed buildings, both externally and internally

Party Wall Agreements:
If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house and share a wall/s with next door, you may need one of these. This area can delay builds and cause conflict, particularly if a neighbour is against the development. It is a civil
matter and a surveyor can help settle disputes. Wandsworth Council’s website has some useful advice and documents in the planning section, and RICS has a consumer guide.

Permitted Development:
These are extensions and alterations undertaken without permission and can include rear and roof extensions and even some basements. However, it is advisable to get confirmation that planning permission is not required, and not to start work until you have done so. There is a formal process called a Lawful Development Certificate (see above), which is an application to the council. Permitted development does not apply to flats (including converted houses) and is restricted for listed buildings and those in conservation areas

Planning Appeal:
You have a right to appeal if an application you have submitted is refused, if a decision isn’t made within a set period (usually eight weeks) or the permission has been granted with conditions that you find unacceptable. The Planning Appeal is made to the Planning Inspectorate. Talk to your local planning authority before appealing, as there may be an opportunity for a revised scheme that overcomes the reasons for refusal. There are no third-party rights of appeal for an objector once a planning application has been granted. For more information visit

Planning Application Drawings:
Drawn up by the architect for planning approval to illustrate the outline brief

Planning permission:
Wandsworth Council’s planning portal contains advice on what does and doesn’t need planning permission. It includes an interactive house to help clarify the general guidelines of permitted development.

Professional Indemnity Insurance:
Covers the architect and builder for compensation claims arising from mistakes or negligence on the project, including the cost of legal advice

Programme of Works:
A chart for all parties to work from showing the jobs to be undertaken and the timeline of the project

Structural Engineer:
Specialists who create drawings, specifications, calculations (to cost the project), review the work of other engineers, write reports and evaluations and observe construction sites

Building surveyors work mostly on site to monitor the performance of structures, find ways to improve them and/ or correct flaws in their design. A quantity surveyor manages all costs relating to building projects, from initial calculations to final figures

Tender Package:
Submitted to chosen builders who are pricing the project

Changes to the project by the client or the architect during the course of the works, after drawings
and costings have been approved

Working drawings:
Used on site to construct the house or renovation project, to include a Schedule of Works

Part 3 – Best laid plans

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