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Most building projects will require at least some elements of the project to gain approval under Building Control. Unlike planning permission, the building regulations have an objective set of rules which your project must follow.
If done correctly, at the end of the building project you will be issued with a certificate stating that the completed building project fully complies with the building regulations. Without this, you could be fined up to £5000, forced to re-do work, and would have trouble selling the property.
There are two ways to go about getting your project approved prior to starting on site:
Full Plans Approval
When your proposed design has been fully developed into a set of construction documents, you can make an application to your local council for confirmation on whether the design complies with the building regulations or not. The council will respond within five weeks with either an approval, a conditional approval, or a refusal.
The information required for this application, typically includes:
Two sets of scaled plans, sections and elevations
Details specification document for the proposed work
Details of the proposed drainage to the project
When the proposed design is very simple in nature, and you have a high degree of certainly as the the compliance with building regulations, you can issue your local council with a simple statement at leat 48 hours before your intention to start building work.
The statement should include:
Your full address
A written description of the proposed works, no longer than half an A4 piece of paper
It is risky to pursue this route on any projects other than those very simple in nature, as you have no assurance the proposals are compliant.
Once your building project starts on site, the building control inspector undertakes a series of inspections to assess the project as the works progress. Work can only continue if the inspector approved the works completed to date.
The key inspections, and amount of notice required are:
Commencement; 2 days
Excavation of foundations; 1 day
Foundations laid; 1 day
Oversite preparation; 1 day
Damp proof course; 1 day
Drains testing; 1 day
Occupation prior to completion; within 5 days of occupation
Completion; within 5 days of completion
Building Control Inspector
The services described above can either be carried out by the Local Authority Building Control, or by a Private Sector Building Control service, commonly referred to as an Approved Inspector. Should you decide upon the latter, you as the client and the Approved Inspector must jointly notify the local authority of the intended building project by submitting an ‘initial notice’. This relinquishes the local authority of any responsibility for ensuring the project complies with building regulations.
In addition to providing up front advice about the building regulations which is tailored to the specifics of your project, the real benefit of appointing an Approved Inspector is that they will become a part of the design team, reviewing and providing critical feedback on the design proposals as it progresses.
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