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The Duties of a Planning Officer

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Whether you are interested in urban design, environmental issues, management, regeneration or development, pursuing a planning officer career could prove to be a rewarding choice. Being a part of a planning process involving affordable housing, community needs and the environment gives you a sense of making a contribution to society. The responsibilities of planning officers vary from job to job. Nevertheless, such duties revolve around significant planning.

Planning Projects

Planning officers assist in the creation of projects such as housing and building complexes and other infrastructure. Planning officers determine the design and structure of the project as well as who will do the work, the equipment needed and the cost of the project. Officers make site visits to determine if everything is going as planned. To be an effective planner, an officer must have knowledge of legislation and social responsibilities.

Managing Policies

Planning officers make certain that permission is given for all developmental projects and that all parties and organizations commit to the requirements. The determination to stick to agreements is very important if a project is to go according to schedule. Dishonoring such an agreement could lead to delaying or abandoning the project, resulting in possible lawsuits.

Negotiating Misunderstandings

Another responsibility of a planning officer involves negotiating a solution for breached permission. Sometimes, because of disagreements or dissatisfaction with a project, permission is revoked. However, planning officers work to resolve differences between parties to prevent the cancellation of the development. Therefore, a planning officer must work cooperatively with both parties to negotiate a solution.

Collecting Evidence

When a possible solution fails in negotiations, planning officers examine and collect evidence and present it to the planning committee, which usually consists of counselors and magistrates. These are the top decision makers. The information is used to identify reasons for the negotiation failure and create alternative plans to resolve the problem. The alternatives might include settlements, replacements or litigation. Collecting and recording evidence requires officers to be skilled in using computers and software applications.

Conducting Site Visits

Planning officers conduct site visits to measure the progress of a project and to see if everything is going according to schedule. They observe and evaluate performance to see if it is meeting the goals and objectives of the company. They examine facilities and equipment to see if there is a need for maintenance, repair or other resources. To effectively perform the duties of a planning officer, an individual must possess effective communication skills, both oral and written.


Steve Glenn is a member of the Loft Writing Center in Minneapolis and has been writing professionally for over six years. He has written various newsletters and has published articles in the "Milwaukee Community Journal." Glenn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and education from Metro State University in St. Paul.

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Jirapong Manustrong/iStock/GettyImages