Previously we looked at Building Regulations and how they are designed to ensure that building works meet set standards of safety, access and fuel efficiency. This time we take a look at how you can go about getting Building Regulations Approval.
Getting Building Regulations Approval
In short, there are two ways that you can get your home improvements signed off by Building Regulations. Minor works can be self-certified by traders registered with the relevant Competence Persons Scheme. Major building works need to be signed off by Building Control Body (BCB) – this can be your Local Authority or a private BCB.
Getting Building Control Approval
If you have undertaken significant works which could impact the structure of the building, such as conversions, underpinning, cavity wall insulation or extensions, you will need to get the work signed off by Building Control Officers. There are three types of approval: full plans application, building notice, or regularisation.
Full Plans Application
A Full Plans Application is the most thorough and is especially important for major works on domestic properties and all commercial works. This application shows full construction details via detailed plans, drawings and other relevant information. When you submit a full plans application, you will usually need to pay a fee. Once the works are approved, you can start work - onsite inspections will be undertaken and final Building Regulations approval will be granted within 8 weeks of the works being completed, providing the work is compliant with the original approved plans. Further inspection and approval fees will be charged during the process.
You can use a building notice for minor works, such as replacement windows (if you haven’t used someone registered with FENSA), or minor alterations. You can’t use a building notice for any work on commercial premises. With a building notice, there is no need to submit full plans for approval and you can start work two days after you have submitted your notice. Your plans won’t be formally approved, as they are with a full plans notice, but a Building Control Office may inspect the works while they are under way and will approve the works on completion.
For completed building works undertaken after 1985, and which have not been granted Building Regulations Approval, it is possible to have the works inspected retrospectively. Your BCB may need you to make changes before they issue the regularisation certificate.
Costs of Building Regulation Applications
Fees are set by the BCB and usually have an initial fee, plus a fee for site visits. The total cost will depend on the size and scale of the work being undertaken. Usually, full plans applications and building notice approval cost the same.
For further advice on Building Regulations, consult your tradesperson or contact a local building surveyor.