Daylight & Sunlight Matters for Architects and Planning Consultants

Most of our work is carried out in conjunction with architects, or planning consultants, or on larger schemes, both! From sole practitioners to large national and international based practices, we aim to work alongside you and your client.

As an architect or planning consultant, you will no doubt be some of the first members of the team, and will be involved with the client from the off.

Your design will need to comply with a whole host of criteria to satisfy planning policies and, of course, our input will be just one aspect of a bigger picture.

By involving us early we can assess your scheme to advise on the impact it will have upon neighbouring property owners in terms of Daylight and Sunlight, and overshadowing to the neighbours’ garden areas.

You may also be asked to have your own design checked for compliance, and again, we can assess your own scheme to report upon the daylight and sunlight levels that the newly designed building will achieve.

Our reports are prepared based upon the requirements of the most widely recognised and used document in the UK for assessing good Daylight and Sunlight design. This is a document known as “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice, 2nd Edition” by Paul Littlefair. This is a nationally recognised publication, and whilst not mandatory, it has been adopted by many design practitioners, planning consultants and Local Authority Planning Departments throughout the UK.

Whilst we carry out many of these reports for developers, and occasionally Local Authorities themselves, on occasion we find that a developer has been asked for such a report when one is not really required. We have on several occasions helped to persuade Local Authorities to drop the need for a full assessment with a simple letter, thus saving your client the cost of a full report, and the associated time delay.

Role of Daylight and Sunlight Assessments for Architects and Planning Consultants

Daylight and sunlight assessments are pivotal tools that play a significant role in architectural design and urban planning. Architects and planning consultants heavily rely on these assessments to ensure that proposed developments adhere to building regulations, optimise the quality of living and working spaces, and create designs that enhance the well-being of occupants. Here’s an in-depth exploration of the multifaceted role these assessments play in the architectural and planning processes:

1. Meeting Regulatory Requirements

Daylight and sunlight assessments are crucial in meeting regulatory compliance standards set by local authorities. Architects and planning consultants need to ensure that their proposed designs meet the required standards and guidelines for natural light provisions in buildings. These assessments provide empirical data to demonstrate compliance with building regulations, planning policies, and standards related to daylight, sunlight, and rights to light.

2. Architectural Design and Building Planning

These assessments directly influence the design process, guiding architects in optimising natural light within the building design. Sunlight and daylight are essential elements in architectural planning, impacting the layout, orientation, and form of the structure. Architects and consultants use this information to strategically position windows, skylights, and openings to maximise natural light while minimising overshadowing and obstruction issues in neighbouring properties.

3. Optimising Natural Light in Designs

The assessments help architects create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and comfortable. Design decisions such as the placement of rooms, the sizing of windows, and the choice of building materials are influenced by these assessments to ensure adequate natural light penetration and distribution throughout the interior spaces.

4. Mitigating Issues in Building Planning

Daylight and sunlight assessments assist in identifying potential issues early in the planning stage. By simulating the impact of new development on the surrounding environment, architects and planners can anticipate and mitigate issues related to overshadowing, loss of natural light, and their potential impact on neighbouring properties.

5. Risk Mitigation and Legal Compliance

Accurate daylight and sunlight assessments mitigate the risk of future disputes. They provide evidence of compliance with legal requirements, reducing the chances of objections or legal challenges during the planning process or after the building’s construction.

Learn more about Daylight and Sunlight assessments today.

How We Assist Architects and Planning Consultants

At Smith Marston, we want to provide a good, reliable service and help you get your scheme over the line. We report accurately, and we will not simply tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. Reporting must always be credible and stand up to scrutiny to not undermine our service and put your application at risk of being refused.

Comprehensive Assessments and Reports

Our reports are prepared based on the requirements of the most widely recognised and used document in the UK for assessing good Daylight and Sunlight design. This document is known as “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice, 2nd Edition” by Paul Littlefair. This is a nationally recognised publication, and whilst not mandatory, it has been adopted by many design practitioners, planning consultants and Local Authority Planning Departments throughout the UK.

Collaborative Support in Planning Processes

We collaborate closely with architects and planning consultants, understanding the unique requirements of each project. Our aim is to complement your expertise by providing in-depth technical knowledge and practical insights. This collaboration ensures that assessments are integrated seamlessly into the design and planning stages, guaranteeing compliance with regulations and optimal utilisation of natural light in the final building design.

Elevate Your Designs with Our Expert Support

Daylight and sunlight assessments are pivotal for compliant, well-designed spaces. At Smith Marston, we specialise in supporting architects and planning consultants with comprehensive assessments and expertise. Let us handle the complexities of assessments, allowing you to focus on your creative vision.

Partner with us today for expert support in creating spaces that prioritise compliance and enhance the human experience. Contact us to learn more.

FAQs for Architects & Planning Consultants

What are Daylight and Sunlight Assessments, and why are they essential in architectural design?

Daylight and sunlight assessments measure the impact of a proposed development on the availability of natural light to existing buildings and outdoor spaces. They are essential as they ensure compliance with building regulations, guarantee optimal utilisation of natural light in design, and minimise overshadowing concerns in neighbouring properties.

At what stage in the design process should a daylight and sunlight assessment be conducted?

Ideally, assessments should be conducted in the early stages of the design process. Starting assessments early allows for better integration of findings into the design, ensuring compliance and mitigating potential issues effectively.

What methods or tools are used in conducting these assessments?

Daylight and sunlight assessments often involve 3D modelling, simulation software, and empirical data collection. These tools help in accurately predicting the impact of a new development on natural light access.

How do these assessments influence the architectural design process?

These assessments significantly influence design decisions by guiding the placement of windows, openings, and the overall layout of the building to optimise natural light while adhering to regulatory standards.

Contact us to find out more

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CPD Events

We also provide in house CPD talks to Architects and Planning Consultants, and again, we would be pleased to come and talk to you, explain about Daylight and Sunlight requirements, and how they differ to Legal Right of Light issues.
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“Smith Marston have assisted us on several major development projects in the last few years and have always provided a fantastic level of service. Their work is consistently professional, delivered on time and with a great back-up service. Adrian is always available to offer advice when needed and has often gone out of his way to provide assistance with our developments – our application at City Road, Newcastle benefitted a great deal from Adrian’s knowledge of both the area and the local authority. We look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with Smith Marston.”

Stuart Duffy, Director, KDP Chartered Architects
“MMA have worked with Smith Marston on a variety of projects for many years and in all of that time they have been professional, knowledgeable, prompt and proactive. Most recently, Adrian was involved in a planning application for a 7-storey development in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. The site was confined and especially suffered from problems caused by the immediate proximity of a 5-storey residential building, resulting in over-shadowing and right-to-light issues. Without Adrian’s excellent advice and input, a successful planning application would not have been achieved.

I have no hesitation in recommending Smith Marston to any future, potential clients.”

Mario Minchell, Architect @ MMA