When you ask if we have to go through planning, do you mean Council planning?
I meant town planning, which may not apply in some areas - not entirly sure of the rules. We are building in an established area, so we needed a planning permit. There were several overlays, making it a little complex, but the incorrect plans and continual stream of errors that we had in the plans provided by PD took months to resolve, and actually required us to make a second application when the original expired without a permit being granted. As I said, we also had to pay for independent site surveys as it was the only way to prove 100% that the drawings were wrong.
Our inspection of the frame revealed that the plan that was used for the build was one that was actually rejected by council!!! Looks like an example of the engineering being done from an early version of the plans, rather than the final signed off version. SS says that he can't pull down the exterior wall that has the error, so that may be fun.
Anyway, now that work has begun, it's going quickly, with people on site Saturdays and working in the rain.
My impression is that the houses look nice, they may even be good designs. There are a lot of ways that PD could improve the quality of their processes - the experience of being a customer is unpleasant IMHO.