Q&A – What are building regulations (England)?
Q: What are building regulations?
A: Building regulations are legal permissions required to commence building work, conversion, or demolition of a building. Commencing work that requires building regulations, without having carried out an approved inspection of the plans, is considered an offense, and legal action may be taken against you. Plans are submitted to building control through your local council, or through a private consultant.
Q: What is the difference between planning permission and building regulations?
A: While planning permission primarily pertains to the aesthetics and appearance of your house, building regulations focuses on whether the construction complies with the approved documents. The approved documents can be found on the government website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/approved-documents
Q: How long does it take for building control to approve your building regulations?
A: Typically, a Council aims to respond to a submission within 8 weeks if they have the capacity to do so. The time taken to process an application can vary due to several factors, and it is important to understand that approval may not be granted on the first attempt. The standard procedure often involves multiple rounds of submissions in which your architect addresses Building Control queries. It is advisable to anticipate the full process taking approximately 2 to 3 months in total.
Q: How much do building control charge to have your plans checked?
A: The fee for a building warrant is determined based on the value of the construction work you are undertaking. Your Local Authority may refer to the BCIS Guide to estimate the value of the works per square meter (£/m²). Private consultants may be more expensive but can get the plans checked quicker than the council.
Q: I have an approved building regulations, so what now?
A: The next steps depend on whether you are overseeing the construction phase yourself or if you have a project manager or contract administrator, such as an architect.
Assuming you are managing the construction works:
- Begin by thoroughly reviewing all the information provided with your approved regulation documentation, as it will contain written instructions on your responsibilities.
- Compliance with these instructions is the responsibility of either yourself or a principal contractor, depending on who is overseeing the works.
- Notify your Local Authority of your intention to commence work at least 7 days in advance, using the provided notice to start work form.
- Arrange for multiple site inspections by a Building Control officer at various stages of the build, followed by one final inspection upon completion.
- After completing the work in accordance with the approved building regulations, you will need a final inspection to be carried out by building control. After this, a completion certificate will be issued
Q: What happens if I deviate away from the approved design?
A: It is advisable to seek prior permission for any deviations from the approved documents, as making changes without approval can lead to complications later on. In cases where changes are necessary and unavoidable, you will need to apply for an amendment to the approved building regulations.
Q: How long do I have to start after I receive my approved plans?
A: The approved plans remain valid for a period of 3 years. If you do not commence your proposed construction within this timeframe, you will need to submit a new application.