Householder planning applications

Plans and drawings – elevations and sections

Elevations are what a building or structure looks like from the outside. Drawings of existing and proposed elevations are needed unless the development would not affect or change them – for example, the creation of a parking space.

Sections – also called cross sections – are drawings that show what the building or structure would look like if it were cut vertically to reveal the internal space. They show relationships between features that cannot be shown through external elevations.

Sections may be needed for roof alterations or when a new storey is added. They may also be needed when there are topographic differences either within the site or between the site and the surrounding area.

On elevation and section drawings:

  • the scale – usually 1:100 or 1:50 – must be shown clearly, both in text and as a scale bar

  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101

  • you must include any side that is changed, or from which the change may be seen – for example, a front porch would require a front elevation and views from both sides, whereas a side extension that wraps around the back would require all four elevations

  • where an elevation is not changing, a drawing should be labelled "existing no change"

  • each drawing must be labelled clearly – 'N' elevation is the side of the property that faces north, 'SE' is the side that faces southeast, and so on – and text such as "front elevation", "rear elevation", "as seen from the street" can also be added

  • details of finishes and materials can either be applied directly to the elevation drawing or shown on a separate drawing with clear annotations – in both cases, they should match the details given on the application form

  • if a change is proposed to the elevation on a row of terraced or semi-detached houses, or on or very near a boundary with another property, the windows on the affected elevations of the neighbouring property should be shown as well – for example, drawings for a rear conservatory on a boundary with an attached house should show details of the rear of the applicant's house and also any windows or doors on the rear of the attached house, as light or the outlook from the neighbour's house may be affected

  • if additional floors are proposed, the level of each floor and the ridge height must be shown

  • there should be a small plan key showing the position and direction through which the section is cut, on all section drawings

  • must, where section drawings are needed, cut through all key features in the proposal – for example, new stairs or an altered roof

  • if changes to ground levels are proposed – for example, excavating, filling, creating steps or ramps – a section drawing must be provided to show how the site will change in relation to the existing topography, road, public footpaths and other access arrangements

Next page: plans and drawings – floors.