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Planning technicians, also known as assistant planning officers, provide support for planners through administrative, technical and practical work.
A crucial process in the property industry is the gaining and granting of planning permission. Planning technicians can either work in the public sector or in the private sector. Planners working for private firms consider the social, environmental, design and economic consequences of developments and advise clients as to how to be granted planning permission. In the public sector, such as in local planning authorities, planners review applications and determine local planning policies.
Planning technicians have a similar role to planners and planning and development surveyors. However, planners will have more responsibility than technicians, as planning technician is the more junior role. As such, technicians typically carry out the day-to-day support work needed to enable planners’ work.
The typical responsibilities of planning technicians include:
responding to queries about the planning permission application process
collecting, analysing and recording data on the progress of planning permission applications
checking and researching legislation and laws relevant to planning
writing up reports for both internal and external publications
attending and taking minutes of meetings
liaising with property developers to make sure that developments correctly follow planning policies (in the public sector)
meeting with property developers and other private clients to discuss how developments can be granted planning permission
negotiating amendments to proposed plans
preparing, revising and reading maps and technical drawings
Qualifications and training
The planning technician role is an entry-level job in planning. A degree is not a requirement to become a planning technician and if you have a degree you may be able to become a planner instead.
It is also possible to become a planning technician with a vocational qualification, such as a HND.
While searching for graduate training schemes in planning, graduates can gain practical experience by working as a planning technician.
Key skills for planning technicians
Attention to detail and an ability to accurately convey information
An interest in planning regulations and the local property market and the ability to keep up to date with them
Strong communication and relationship-building skills – technicians may be the first point of contact for clients
Organisational skills, as technicians can work on more than one project at the same time
Willingness and ability to travel. You may require a full driving license
Local planning authorities
Central government departments
Specialist planning agencies
Organisations that require property to be managed and developed (such as infrastructure companies or airports)
You are most likely to find planning technician roles within local authorities.
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