Planning claim natural sandstone is artificial, help!

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by ppaul69uk, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member


    We have hit a real stumbling block with planning officers. Natural sandstone is stipulated on the plans. We have provided samples of red sandstone along with data sheets. Senior Planning Design & Heritage officer claims the stone is artificial having seen both samples and data sheet.

    How come he cannot tell if the sandstone is natural? How do we convince him it is? How to send the message across without offending him?

    Moreover, the guy says that if building is built with this stone, they will start an enforcement action to demolish on the basis that stone is artificial. But they won't be able to do this, because even 1st year geology student will know this stone is natural!

    This is really awkward.

    Any help will be much appreciated.


  2. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    It's either sandstone or it isn't, on what grounds is he saying it's artificial.​
  3. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    Hi there. On examination of samples we have sent. It is really a grotesque situation...
  4. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    I wouldn't go as far as saying it's grotesque, a pain in the a*** yes.

    But as I've said it's either sandstone or it isn't, so is it more to do with the colour of it, as opposed to it's geological makeup..
  5. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    Well it is sandstone, we have taken samples direct from the quarry. He is not mentioning the colour, only that the stone is artificial without giving any particular clues as to why he thinks so.

    About to give him a call, but not sure how to convince him it is sandstone. It is like trying to explain that the Earth is circling around the Sun, and not vice versa!
  6. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    Moreover, the stone colour is a spitting image of the local stone from around the building site.
  7. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    If you have got the stone direct from the quarry and have documentation stating it is sandstone. You need to ask him to give you a reason why he believes it not to be real, if he can't then you need to point out that time is money and his wasting of your time doesn't come cheap, in a firm but polite way.
  8. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    That is what I was thinking as well, but not sure what to say if he becomes stubborn and thick, and won't budge. That will be a problem. If I lose the plot I may call him incompetent and will ask him to put me through to his supervisor - if there is any!
  9. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    LoL. I am glad I am out of the building trade. There are some real jobsworth sanctimonious twerps in the Planning Departments. Artificial Sandstone. Heard it all.
  10. mof

    mof Member

    "Jobsworth sanctimonious " exactly, mate of mine made a stairs of which the headroom to the bulkhead would be about 1/2" ? too low only at one side of the stairs for one inch only where you could not stand "against the wall" building inspector said that would be fine go ahead, when the stairs was fitted it was rejected by the building inspecter, my mate said it was already passed by the inspecter, bloke said to him that inspector has retired now and I am in charge.
  11. Sean_ork

    Sean_ork Screwfix Select

    if you ever want to get your project finished don't give him any reason to make your life difficult

    tell him what quarry it came from, offer to take him there, show him receipts, point out other buildings local to yours that have used the same stone - do this in writing - find out who the senior planner is (there will be one) and copy him in on all correspondence

    artificial sandstone has been used for many 100s of years, and the good stuff is really really hard to tell from the real thing, so don't just assume he is incompetent
  12. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    Hi there. I had a sample of artificial sandstone from a leading manufacturer in one hand, and natural in the other. It is really easy to tell which is which. I spoke with the guy, and he is still reluctant to admit our stone is natural, because the sample does not have visible layers or strutters and is of very consistent grain. He came up with another excuse though, which is as silly as the previous one.

    I will not go into further details, as it is up to our client to resolve this now. Apparently this inspector is contradicting himself. There is also a development which uses artificial stone 50 m away or so, and that was fine.
  13. Sean_ork

    Sean_ork Screwfix Select

    and that was ?

    stay clam, you need them on your side
  14. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    That it is different from local stone because of lack of visible layers and gravel bits. Initially he said in the email he would accept sandstone from 3 quarries (as an example), but once it was explained to him the stone that we sent samples of is also natural, he said he would accept only one type of sandstone form one quarry only, and denied ever mentioning 3 quarries in the first place (it was in his email(!) - hard proof). Client is angry, especially that artificial stone was used 50 m away from his.
  15. Sean_ork

    Sean_ork Screwfix Select

    was the artificial sample stone dressed or just raw showing the fibres and matting ? - the finished product, once it's weathered slightly is very very convincing

    all you can do is to remind him that he has previously stated an acceptable source is from any of 3 quarries, quote the date/time of his original correspondence, perhaps take him a more rough and ready natural sample from your preferred place

    how long ago was the artificial stone site done ? - am assuming that's 50 meters and not 50 miles away

    if it's a very recent project then you can claim it as having set a precedent and ask to see written proof that the guidelines have been changed since that project was completed, it might be interesting to find out who the planner was on that project (it may well be the same chap, with a new found disliking to all things artificial)

    and subtly find out who the senior planner is
  16. ppaul69uk

    ppaul69uk New Member

    The sample of artificial I had was smooth polished ashlar, about 30 mm thick. Really easy to tell the difference - bit difficult on the surface, but very easy at section, i.e. looking at the side.

    Thanks for advice. Our client is dealing with now. They will go to their architects regarding this, and will even hire a planning consultant if need be.

    Yes, it is 50 metres, not miles. And it is a recent project.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  17. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    I wouldn't subtly find out who the senior planner is.

    I would ask for the problem details in writing, and his seniors' details, "as I may need to escalate the matter."

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  18. Sean_ork

    Sean_ork Screwfix Select

  19. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    You've used my flag.:p
  20. Sean_ork

    Sean_ork Screwfix Select


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