We have had a couple of cases where churches, after consulting the DAC, have had plans drawn up for re-ordering involving external alterations to churches that need planning consent and a faculty, and have applied first for planning consent, and only belatedly for a faculty.
We would expect any professional architect or surveyor on our approved list to know the process, but ministers and churchwardens should make sure they do.
The alterations allowed to approved plans in a planning consent are now very limited. If the DAC sees plans later and wants alterations, when you already have planning consent, you may need to make a fresh planning application to the Local Planning Authority.
If you get DAC approval first, and the LPA wants changes, our process is more flexible (even after a faculty has been granted), and alterations can be made to meet the LPA’s suggestions. There may of course occasionally be a difference of opinion between the DAC and the LPA, but these can normally be resolved.
For listed buildings, the circumstances in which LPAs consult English Heritage and amenity societies are different from the Faculty Rules, which expect consultation on any significant alteration., viz. the demolition of a significant part of the structure of the interior, the removal of major internal fixtures such as fixed pews, a rood screen or an organ, or the addition of any significant new element such as the creation of new spaces through subdivision. The full guidance (should you be happy with legalese) is at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2000/20002047.htm#appb