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Building Regulations

 

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Building Regulations are mainly concerned with how a structure is put together and how it complies with the various standards for habitable accommodation.

Generally you require building regulation approval for alterations of a structural nature both internally and externally. This would include the use of steelwork beams in structural walls, enlargement of existing window openings and below ground drainage.

Any extensions to a property including attic conversions. The only exemptions to this are for porches and conservatories provided the glazing complies with the relevant standards.

Your application for building control approval pays for the Building Inspectors to check your plans for compliance with the various regulations and for the Building Inspector to visit your property at various stages of the work to ensure that your builder is adhering to the regulations.

Approved Documents (Schedule 1)

The regulations contain a list of requirements intended to provide for the health and safety of people in and around buildings, including access and facilities for disabled people. The documents provide practical and technical guidance for the various professionals in the construction process, enabling them to meet the requirements.

Advice.

If you do not have a sufficient understanding of building construction it is advisable to speak to a professional about such matters (e.g. architects, a structural engineer, or building surveyor) and to choose a recognise builder to carry out building work. It would be imprudent to ignore the advise of the Local Authority Building Control Officer or an Approved Inspector in advance. Advice on Building Control matters can be sought from your own Local Authority in general we have found most departments helpful to the general public as a source of free information and advice on how to progress your project.

To find your local Building Control Department, click here.
http://www.labc-services.co.uk/

Work that is covered by the Building Regulations.

When putting up a new building, extending or altering an existing building, or providing fittings in a building (e.g. drains, heating, sanitary facilities) the Building Regulations will most likely apply. It is important to note that the regulations may apply to certain changes in the usage of a building even though construction work may not be intended. The reason is the building may need to meet different requirements of the regulations. You should also recognise that the construction of a new project may have serious implications for an adjacent property.

Objections to the proposed building work.

Neighbours to a proposed building project do not have the right to oppose a Building Regulations application. However, it is advisable to notify the neighbours. In each case, you should make sure that the building work does not encroach on their property as this could lead to a possible injunction for the removal of building work. It should be noted here that objections could be raised if the work is subject to approval under the Town and Country Planning Act etc. (but this is an entirely separate matter)

Do you need Building Regulations Approval?

YES.

However, a porch or conservatory constructed at ground level, which is under 30m2 in floor area, and the glazing meets regulations. (Part N), or it restricts ladder access to windows in the roof/loft conversion.

Not to build a garden or boundary wall.

A garage extension at ground level, open on at least two sides and under 30m2 is exempt.

A single storey detached garage extension at ground level, under 30m2 with no sleeping space is also exempt providing that it is constructed using fire resistant materials where possible; or is built more than 1 metre from the boundary or the property.

Not to install replacement windows, provided that the window opening is not enlarged, or if the existing frames are load bearing and a structural alteration is required, or you do not remove opening windows that are used as a means of escape in case of fire.

Not if repairs to an existing property are minor in nature.

Not to replace electric wiring, however, a contract with the electricity supplier has conditions about safety which are not to be broken.

The Local Authority Building Control Department.

In a full plans application plans need to be produced showing all constructional details, usually drawn well in advance of the intended commencement of the building work. When the plans are submitted to the Local Authority they should be accompanied by any relevant structural calculations, i.e. to demonstrate that the building work will comply with safety requirement on the structure of the building.

What fees are involved for the services of the Local Authority or the Approved Inspector?

The level of fees payable to the local authority relate directly to the type of work involved. A full plans application may involve a two-stage payment - the first will be paid when the plans/calculations are ready to be submitted to the local authority, this is known as a Plan Fee. The second payment will follow a first inspection on site, known as an Inspection Fee, but is only paid if and inspection takes place. We can provide specific information as to the exact fees that you will need to pay, or if you prefer you may contact your local authority.

Local Authority departments are now allowed by central government to set their own fees so it is essential to check with your own council department to check the exact figures.

As a guide the average fees are as follows and all figures include vat: -

For the exact fees for your local Building Control Department, Click here.
http://www.labc-services.co.uk/

1.Erection of a detached building which consists of a garage or carport or both having a floor area not exceeding 40m2 in total and intended to be used in common with an existing building, and which is not an exempt building.

Plan & Inspection Fee = 150.00

2. Any extension of a dwelling, the total floor area of which does not exceed 10m2 including means of access and work in connection with that extension.

Plan & Inspection Fee = 340.00

3. Any extension of a dwelling, the total floor area of which exceeds 10m2 but does not exceed 40m2 including means of access and work in connection with that extension.

Plan Fee = 150.00
Inspection Fee = 348.00

4. Any extension to a dwelling the total floor area of which exceeds 40m2 but does not exceed 60m2, including means of access and work in connection with that extension.

Plan Fee = 150.00
Inspection Fee = 502.00

5. Any extension or alteration of a dwelling consisting of the provision of one or more rooms in a roof space, including means of access.

Plan Fee = 150.00
Inspection Fee = 502.00

Remember these fees are only a general guide and you should confirm the costs with your Local Authority. If your particular project is not covered by the above classifications again you can confirm the relevant charges with your Local Authority.

Charges are payable on all Building Regulation submissions with the exception of cavity wall insulation and work exclusively to provide access and facilities for disabled people.

When to commence with construction work.

As soon as you have given Building Notice or submitted full plans, you can start work provided you give the local authority a Commencement Notice at least two clear days before commencing. However if you start work before the receipt of a decision of the full plans application, you reduce your ability to seek a determination from the secretary of state if a dispute arises.

When your plans are rejected.

Your options:

Resubmit your full plans application with amendments to ensure they comply with the regulations.

If you feel that your plans comply with regulations and the decision to reject is unjustified, you can refer the matter to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for their determination, but usually only before the work has been started.

If you feel that a regulation is not relevant or is difficult to adhere it would be open for you to ask the local authority to dispense with it.

Contravening the Building Regulations.

If you were to carry out work that does not comply with the regulations, your local authority has the power to prosecute. If convicted you will be liable to pay a fine of up to 5000, plus 50 for each day that a contravention is not seen to after you have been prosecuted.

The local authority also has the power to put the work right if you do not do so, and recover the costs from you.

   

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