FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What must I do to get Building Regulation approval?

If your building work needs Building Regulation approval you can either:

Submit a Full Plans application or submit a Building Notice to the local planning authority and building inspector.

To which areas of work do the Regulations apply?

Regulations apply to virtually all building extensions and new building works. Removal and provision of internal walls and structural alterations to buildings can, at times, alter the strength of the building and therefore must be assessed by a structural engineer.

Do the Regulations apply to the erection of a conservatory?

Conservatories which have less than 30m2 internal floor area, separated from the main part of the building by a door and constructed at ground level are exempt from building control and therefore do not need planning approval provided that no previous extensions exist to the building.

May I draw my own plans?

Yes, provided that you have the necessary training and knowledge to produce accurate scale drawings and detailed building specifications. If you do not feel confident to do this it may be better to employ a professional person to act as your agent and to prepare the application for you. It is also worthwhile considering having professional drawings and specifications prepared if you intend to use them as a basis for obtaining builders estimates and as your contract drawings.

What if things go wrong?

If problems arise during the progress of works the building inspector will do his best to help find solutions, and will be happy to offer advice to both you and your builder. Ultimately however the Building Control service is not a warranty organisation and if the building work fails to meet your needs or expectations your redress would be against your builder, not the Building Inspector.

For this reason you should take great care in selecting a reliable builder who has a sound reputation and can therefore be relied upon to be available in future years should any problem arise.

Proof that Building Regulations were not required.

If your solicitor has asked you to provide written evidence that Building Regulations/Planning were not required for the alterations/extensions you have made to your home:

You can submit a written request. This process takes about 7-10 days and a letter will be sent out informing you that either permission was or was not needed. This is a free service.

If a Building Regulations application was required you may be able to apply for a Regularisation Certificate. A Regularisation Application will need to be submitted. If, after looking at the work on site, the inspector is happy that it satisfies the Building Regulations he will issue a formal Regularisation Certificate. The Certificate may be used when selling a house to show that the work complies with the Building Regulations.

How long are plans valid for?

When plans are approved, the work must start within 3 years (from the date of approval of the application) or if not commenced a new approval must be obtained.

How long does the application process take?

The Planning Department and Building Inspectors aim to check all applications within 14 days, however, there is a period of 5 weeks with a further extension (if agreed) of up to 2 months after which a decision must be made. This varies from area to area.

Does Building Regulation Approval mean that my building work is insured?

No.

Have my neighbours the right to object to my plans under the Building Regulations?

No. Under the Building Regulations, adjoining owners have no rights of objection other than in disputes over boundaries.

What happens if my builder fails to give the required notices?

You, as the person who employs the builder, are in contravention of the Building Regulations. You may be asked to open up works, which means lost time and money and the possibility of having to do work again.

Does the approval of plans permit me to build on or over the boundary onto my neighbour's property?

No. Building Control Services are not responsible for establishing boundaries between properties. If your neighbour builds on or over your boundary, we suggest that you discuss the matter with them. If you are not able to resolve the situation, we suggest you take legal advice. Of particular relevance is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

If I have any problems who do I turn to?

Prevention is better, cheaper and less stressful than cure. If you think you may have any problems then do not hesitate to contact Building Control Services for advice.

Is there any documentation I should keep?

Yes, it is advisable to keep your Full Plans Approval and Completion Certificates for the work that has been carried out. These are as important as the original deeds of the property. Without them you will find it difficult to complete a sale of your property at anytime in the future. It can be compared to trying to sell a car without a valid M.O.T certificate.

You should also keep builders invoices, warranties etc.

Do I need approval to replace windows?

Yes, from April 1st 2002, all replacement glazing comes within the scope of the Building Regulations. From that date onwards, anyone who installs replacement windows will have to comply with strict thermal performance standards and other matters controllable under the Fensa Regulations.

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