Architect calls on Scottish government to follow Westminster lead in modernizing planning system

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The Scottish architect and contractor is calling on the Scottish government to follow England’s lead and update the planning request process.

Danny Campbell founded HOKO Design in 2019 with a mission to fix a “broken” industry by matching homeowners with architecture and design experts.

He criticized the “laborious” application process for extensions and improvements and wants the Scottish government to follow the UK government in introducing a web application to streamline the process.

UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a two-web application system as he revealed plans to digitize the planning system to save developers, architects and homeowners time and money by speeding up and simplifying the process.

Campbell argues that many home improvements – such as extensions and loft conversions – don’t need a full building permit, but complicated rules often waste homeowners time and money by submitting proposals. invalid requests for “authorized developments”.

The new app for homeowners will use plain language and diagrams to help them navigate the system, asking questions to determine if the plans meet local and state requirements.

Users can then request in the app the certificate they need to show that their plans are authorized to develop, allowing construction to continue.

The program will be tested in three regions of the English council before being considered for rollout across the country, Campbell is keen to see similar progress in Scotland.

Campbell, founder of Glasgow-based HOKO Design, said: “The planning application process in Scotland is incredibly long and laborious – around a decade behind all other industries in terms of technology and accessibility.

“As a company, our goal is to provide the perfect customer experience, which is why if a customer wants to act quickly, we want to help them do it. However, negotiating the planning process is a constant lull that we cannot avoid, and inevitable delays are the bane of any project. Any prior assurance that an application will be processed provides a benefit to the owner, to the architect, to the builder, to the economy – essentially anyone.

“We are pushing for the death of blueprints and paper drawings in the planning process. Examining drawings when 3D images are available is as old-fashioned as sending a letter instead of an email.

“At present, the planner can effectively play the role of pseudo-architecture critic, making or canceling a decision on a whim or opinion rather than against defined objective criteria. This is an area where we, as an industry in Scotland and the UK, need to see progress. “

Glasgow-based HOKO Design expanded into the UK earlier this year, opening new studios in Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Inverness and London.

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