Building Regulation approval is often required for structural works to a dwelling, such as works for an extension, loft conversion, removal of a load-bearing wall, porch, garage conversion, flat conversion, removal of a chimney breast and other types of structural alterations.
Building Regulation approval can be obtained in two ways. The first is by way of a ‘full plans submission’. In this case, plans (and any structural calculations required in support of the application) together with an application fee are submitted to Building Control for approval. Any amendments required by Building Control are provided and after a number of weeks and once Building Control are satisfied that the plans comply with Building Regulations, approval is provided. Works can then commence on payment of the Council’s inspection fee in stages to completion when a Completion Certificate is issued confirming that the structural alterations have been completed satisfactorily.
The alternative is one that is sometimes suggested by builders/developers which is by way of a ‘Building Notice’. This is not available for all structural alterations (for example, if the work involves building over a sewer). A form is submitted to Building Control together with the application fee (in this case, the total fee is payable up front). The works may then commence almost immediately on receipt of the application. Building Control then visit the property in stages to make sure the build is completed in accordance with Building Regulations.
The disadvantages of the Building Notice application, in our view, is that Building Control only see the works retrospectively. They do not see a set of plans or structural calculations, so have no idea of the structural works involved and the methods to be used in completing the alterations. If Building Control visit the site and are not happy with the progress of the work they can ask for structures to be altered or ultimately demand that they be demolished if they do not think the works comply with current Building Regulations. They can also insist during the course of the build for plans and/or structural calculations in any event. Something that was meant to save time could ultimately lead to long delays and additional expense in sorting out any problems.
Building Control Departments, in the case of Building Notices, are also not obliged to issued a Completion Certificate as in the case of a Full Plans Submission. This Certificate is useful to the property owner, and in addition, should the owner wish to sell the property, will be required by a potential purchaser as proof that the works have been completed in accordance with Building Regulations. A lack of such a Certificate can lead to possible delays and/or problems.
Is is therefore our view that in most cases, a Full Plans Submission is the appropriate type of application for structural works.
Contact ConstructAid if you want further advice on Building Regulations
Further general advice on Building Regulations can be found by following the link below:-