To help you achieve compliance with the regulations, you are obliged to use either your local authority building control service or a private sector approved inspector’s building control service. You will be charged for either service.
Local authority building control service
You can submit a full plans application or give a building notice to your local authority building control service, depending on the scale and type of work you wish to undertake.
A full plans application
This needs to contain plans and other information showing all construction details, preferably well in advance of when work is to start on site. Your local authority will check your plans and consult any appropriate authorities (eg fire and sewerage). They should finish the procedure by giving you a decision within five weeks or, if you agree, a maximum of two months from the date of deposit.
If your plans comply with the Building Regulations you will receive a notice stating that they have been approved. If your local authority is not satisfied you may be asked to make amendments or provide more details. Alternatively, a conditional approval may be issued. This will either specify modifications which should be made to the plans; or will specify further plans which should be deposited with your authority.
A full plans approval notice is valid for three years from the date of deposit of the plans, after which the local authority may send you a notice to declare that the approval has no effect if the building work has not started. If your plans are rejected the reasons will be stated in the notice. Any building work approved before 6 April 2006, but starting after 1 April 2007 may need to satisfy the energy conservation requirements that came into effect on 6 April 2006 and not any earlier ones against which the approval was judged.
Your local authority may only apply conditions if you have asked them to do so or have consented to them doing so. A request or consent should be made in writing, which may form part of the initial application for approval.
The local authority building control service will inspect your work at certain stages throughout the project. The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you tothe building control pages of your local authority website where you can find out more.
How the Building Regulations are enforced and your right to appeal
This procedure does not involve passing or rejecting of plans. It avoids the preparation of detailed ‘full plans’, and is designed to enable some types of building work to get under way quickly; although it is perhaps best suited to small work.
Once you have given your building notice and informed your local authority that you are about to start work, the work will be inspected as it progresses. You will be advised by the authority if the work does not comply with the Building Regulations. If before the start of work, or while work is in progress, your local authority needs further information such as structural design calculations or plans, you should supply details. A ‘building notice’ is valid for three years from the date the notice was given to the local authority, after which it will automatically lapse if the building work has not started. One exception to this is the need to satisfy the energy conservation requirements (see above under ‘full plan’s application).
The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more.
Approved inspectors’ building control service
When you use an approved inspector, they will take responsibility for checking the plans and inspection of your building work. The procedure requires you and the approved inspector jointly to notify your local authority of your intended building work on what is called an ‘initial notice’.
The approved inspector will tell you what plans and information they need to check that the proposed work will comply with the Building Regulations.
If you ask, the approved inspector will, once satisfied, issue a plans certificate which will confirm that the plans of your proposed building work show compliance with the Building Regulations. When the work is complete the approved inspector should issue a final certificate to the local authority to say that the work referred to in the initial notice is complete and that the inspector has carried out their inspections. If the approved inspector is not satisfied that the work complies, then they cannot give the final certificate.
To find an approved inspector visit Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI) website below.
Consulting your neighbours
Generally, under the Building Regulations, there are no obligations to consult your neighbours about your proposed building work, but it would be sensible to do so. You should be careful that your work does not interfere with their property as this could lead to bad feeling and possibly civil action for the modification or removal of work.
Although consultation with your neighbours is not required under the Building Regulations, you should note that if your project is subject to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 you should give notice to adjoining owners under that Act. It is advisable to discuss your proposal with the adjoining owners before giving any notice.
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