Building Regulations

Not to be confused with planning applications, the Building Regulations are there to ensure that buildings are built to a quality standard for such things as structure; fire; drainage; ventilation; insulation etc, and to ensure that all the works conform to the current Statutory Building Regulations as laid down by Law.

Building regulation matters are handled by either Building Control Officers within the Building Control Department of your local authority, or by licenced private inspectors, dependent upon who you or your Agent chooses to manage this process. Unlike planning, there is no committee and you should not have to endure a long wait for approvals, normally within 10-20 days.

How do I apply for Building Regulations’ Approval?

There are two ways to apply for approval under the Building Regulations: the Full Plans method or the Building Notice method (detailed below).

Full Plans Method: The ‘full plans’ method of application is a more detailed and robust application as it requires the submission of up-front detailed drawings that show a great deal of information, such as the fire escape routes, ventilation capacities, for instance. LTD Services Ltd will provide all the necessary drawings, applications & covering letters for submission as part of the complete design process.

Building Notice Method: Most people find that a Building Notice is the simplest and most appropriate for alterations or extensions to domestic properties. You should not need specific drawings for this and your builder can look after the process on your behalf while undertaking the works. To do this the builder simply completes a Building Notice form and submits it to the Building Control Department – this has to be done at least 48 hours before work starts on site. Once the work starts, the Building Control Officer will visit the site and make arrangements with the builder to visit at specific points through the progress of the works to check that the works meet the minimum standard that the regulations require. They may also request supplementary drawings and information. When the works are complete, you can ask the Building Control Officer to give you a certificate to confirm that everything has been done to the required level.

The two types of application are further detailed as follows

1- Full plans submission:

  • Building plans are prepared by LTD Services Ltd and submitted to the council’s Building Control Department or Private Inspector along with the necessary forms, any other supporting documentation such as calculations and the appropriate fees.
  • The fee is usually paid in two parts, an initial amount when the application is submitted and the remainder when work commences although particularly with smaller amounts they may be combined and paid at the beginning.
  • Building Plans are then examined, quite often a letter will be sent raising some queries and eventually a decision is made to approve or refuse the application for your project.
  • The examination and decision is carried out by Building Control officers and would not generally be referred to council committees or seek the opinion of neighbours as it is basically a technical exercise judged against the requirements of the regulations, not taking into account aspects such as appearance or overlooking.
  • The approval for your project can sometimes be conditional, either adding some additional requirements that may have been omitted or asking for additional information (structural calculations etc.) to be provided at some future date.
  • When the work commences the Building Inspector will make regular inspections at key stages of your project to ensure that these meet the requirements set our within the Building Regulations.

2- Building Notice:

  • Under this procedure only minimal information is provided to the council or Inspector at the beginning; usually a form, a small scale site plan and the appropriate fee.
  • In practice the council might for example require structural calculations which in turn could require an accurate plan for an engineer to assess the loads and the council to check. None the less in a number of straightforward cases it can save on the necessity of detailed plans but it is best suited to minor works such as drainage alterations etc. rather than major building works.
  • Building Notice does require the builder to be very familiar with the regulations and acceptable forms of construction as he will not be working to approved plans.
  • Site inspections will be made in the same way as the Full Plans procedure although in practice they may need to be longer or more frequent in order to clarify what has been done or needs to be done to comply with the regulations.

What is a party wall agreement?

It is very common with alterations to domestic buildings (even for detached houses) that action under the Party Wall legislation will be necessary. Works that affect a wall, fence or any part of your neighbour’s structure, within certain specified distances will require notification to adjoining owners in accordance with the Party Wall Act 1996. This notification can be a complicated procedure and can take a good deal of time. LTD Services Ltd work with a number of Party Wall surveyors and as such we will be able to advise you and guide you through the process.
What drawings will I need for my builder?

The drawing package produced by LTD Services Ltd for building regulations approval will form the full package of drawings for your builder. Your builder will be able to accurately price from these drawings along with constructing all on site works.

How do I select a builder?

LTD Services Ltd work closely with a number of building companies, so we are able to provide references of their work, or we can, as part of a pre-construction phase, offer help and advise in the selection of a suitable and qualified building contractor.

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