Homeowners guide to Building regs

Homeowner’s guide to Submitting a Building Regulations Application

I find that the majority of our clients are fully aware of what ‘Planning Permission’ is and even to the extent of having detailed knowledge of what can be done under Permitted Development. However, many are ‘aware’ of building regulations or heard the name mentioned without knowing exactly what it is or what its there for. Many associate the name with dread and fear and have a dread akin to going to the dentist, assuming building control are the ‘bad guys’ at the local councilw ho are there to stop you building. While a little comical, it obviously isnt true at all and the main reason building control exist is to ensure yours, and the publics safety and comfort in any new building. As professional in this area, we are fully conversant with how the system works and whats involved but thought we would share a small guide we found which is aimed at explaining, in easy to understand terms, what you can expect.

The options
There are two options when submitting an application for building works; a full plans application or a building notice application. Both of these types of application need to be submitted before you start work and the total fee for each is the same and is payable to the local authority.
Some works such as new garages or conservatories may be exempt from the building regulations.
Do I need planning permission?
Building Regulations approval and planning permission are not the same, however they are sometimes confused, building regulations will often apply when planning permission does not. For further advice about whether or not you need planning permission you should refer to the planning officer of your own local authority.
Full plans applications.
The most common type of application we submit for building works is a full plans application. In this case, you as the building owner or your agent/architect submit an application with plans showing full details of the work together with any relevant structural calculations. Using this route once Building Control have checked your plans and are satisfied they meet the building regulations you will receive a formal decision known as an “approval notice”. (This approval notice may be important when seeking loans or moving home). You also have the added assurance that provided the works are carried out in accordance with the approval that a completion certificate will be issued to you once all the work is finished.
Building notice applications.
A building notice is generally used for minor works such as removal of an internal load-bearing wall, where the person carrying out the work is familiar with current building regulations. One advantage is that it allows work to start 48 hours after submission of the application as there is no plan checking involved before work begins and therefore no approval notice is issued. It can’t be used when the works will involve building over or within three metres of a public sewer. If you are submitting a building notice you must feel confident that the work will comply with the current building regulations as when the Building Control officer arrives to inspect the work if it doesn’t you risk having to rectify this at your own expense.
Starting work.
All building work must be inspected by building control surveyors at key stages. This is not only to ensure that the work meets the current building regulations, but it also provides an opportunity for us to offer timely advice or for contractors to raise any queries they may have. Once they receive your completed application you will often be assigned a dedicated surveyor for your project who will provide continuity of service for both you and your builder.
Completion of work.
It is very important that you or the builder contact your building control surveyor to arrange for a final inspection when all the work is complete. Once building control are satisfied that the work is complete a completion certificate can be issued to you for safekeeping. This is an important document should you decide to sell or remortgage your property in the future. (We would also recommend that you obtain your completion certificate before making final payment to your builder.)