As the client there are a few things one must consider before starting a project that may require planning permission. These have more to do with mindset going into the project than the process itself.
The process takes longer than you think.
Should the design require a lot of thought and take into consideration many factors, then you should take this into account. The design process can take time. Computers are just glorified drawing boards, sure they speed up the drafting process, but they don’t do any of the design work. Also remember you won’t be the only client. I know there is an understandable impatiences to see the vision become a reality, but remember there is still the stage in the middle that has to happen for it to be realised. A well designed project will run more smoothly and is more likely to come in closer to budget. Planning permission can take longer too. Which leads me on to.
Planning Permission is not just a formality.
You should always go into a project understanding that it may not pass. It is not a given. Should there be complaints the process can become more complicated and take a lot longer. Worst case scenario you may even have to appeal. Allow for this when considering starting a project.
Building Control and Planning are different things.
Should you get planning permission then this is the time to get more detailed construction drawings made up, and when needed the services of a Structural Engineer. This process again takes time, just because Building Control may say they can turn around passing the plans in a set time that doesn’t take into account the time needed to prepare the plans and gather the relevant information that is needed. Factor this into the timing also. Be patient and the project will run smoothly. Force people to rush and that is when mistakes can happen, and in this game it means money being lost.