Once planning permission had been granted, the next stage was to prepare the more detailed drawings and specification document that would be submitted for building regulations approval and gaining prices from contractors.
Initially we were surprised at the level of detail required, as we were forced to think about finishes, decorations, even kitchens and bathrooms. This needed a lot of decisions from us, but our Architects explained that the more detail we gave the builders, the more accurate their prices would be. We were very keen to get fixed prices before we appointed any builder, so we did a lot of research, and visited the Grand Designs Show.
Whilst the planning application related to the overall design, appearance, size and exterior materials of the house, the Building Regulations application included technical details of structure, drainage, services, insulation, heating etc. This is to help ensure new buildings are constructed in a safe and energy efficient manner. At this stage we decided to add extra insulation to keep our heating bills down to a minimum, and spend a little more on renewable technologies that would make our home more sustainable and cheaper to run in the long term. We planned to use photovoltaic (pv) panels on the roof to generate electricity, collect rainwater for toilets/washing machine/gardening, and use a ground source heat pump to produce warm water for our underfloor heating. Although more costly to install, these technologies should actually save money overall and mean that we are not reliant on utility providers and their ever increasing prices.
Once the Building Regulations approval had been granted, we had a nervous wait for the tender returns from six local builders !