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How to comply with Building Regulations when extending or renovating your property

When we think of completing major structural work on a property, such as building an extension, we usually associate it with getting planning permission. However, many people don’t realise that there’s an extra process involved.

Building Regulations approval is an integral part of the building process, and ensures the health and safety of anybody in or around the new structure. There are a number of domestic projects that may require building regulation approval, including:

  • Garage, loft or conversions
  • Alterations to drainage and heating systems
  • New or replacement windows
  • Some electrical work
  • Roof work
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Some conservatories and garages

In this blog, we’re going to focus on how to achieve this with minimal complications.

How do I know for sure if I need Building Regulations compliance?

If you plan to undertake any of the above work on your house, the likelihood is that you will need to apply for Building Regulations approval. Your architect or builder should be able to tell you whether you need this for sure, as the rules are not black and white — for some electrical work, conservatoires and garages, you may not need it, for example.

If in doubt, always seek council from a qualified professional to save yourself a great deal of time, money and hassle in the long run.

The Building Regulations application process

Once you have determined that you will need approval before you start work, you will need to kick start the application process. For this, it generally helps to have your architect or builder involved, as they will be able to provide you with the required detailed plans of the proposed extension to your Local Planning Authority.

With these plans, you will also need to send an application form and fee.

How long does the process take?

On receipt of your plans, form and fee, qualified building control surveyors carry out a full examination of the plan to check that it complies with Building Regulations within five weeks. Private Approved Building Inspectors can be quicker. If they find that it does comply, they will approve the project. If not, then you need to go back to the drawing board and review the application.

Once you’ve had approval, you’re free to start work on the property. However, your builders are required to notify the council as soon as they start on the building work and then at various stages throughout the project. It’s routine for inspections to be carried out throughout the build in order for the planning authority to ensure any work, such as laying foundations, damp proofing and installing drains, is carried out to standard.

Once the work has been completed, a final inspection will be made and all being well, a certificate of completion will be issued.

What if a dispute arises?

On occasion, a dispute may arise with the local authority if they feel that the proposed work doesn’t comply — or isn’t compliant — with Building Regulations. In this instance, a process called ‘determination’ is used as a form of adjudicating.

In England, a determination occurs when the matter is handed over to the Secretary of State for Transport to make a final decision. Generally speaking, disputes are usually settled in this way, so if an issue does arise, it’s advisable to apply for this as soon as possible before any substantial construction work is undertaken.

Dispensations and Appeals

Finally, Building Regulations are designed to cover a broad range of undertakings, so situations may arise where you believe that a certain regulation is inapplicable to your application. In this case, you can apply for a dispensation within 28 days of notification of failure to comply with Building Regulations.

Should your application for dispensation be refused, you have the right to appeal to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (in England) should you wish to continue the case.

Over to you

If you need help with your application for Building Regulations, Aldrock Surveyors can help. Our expert team are experienced in providing professional help and advice to anybody applying for Building Regulations approval. For more information about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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  • 8th October 2014