What are Building Regulations?
Building regulations are minimum standards defined by the UK government for the design, construction and alterations to buildings. This is to ensure that buildings are constructed and maintained is a safe manner. The standards are defined in this document. It covers what work is covered by the standards and which buildings are exempt as well as energy and water efficiency requirements.
What is Building Regulations approval?
Building Regulations approval is different to planning permission and listed building consent. It is possible that you may require all three. When work is undertaken, an independent Building Control Officer must inspect the work to ensure that the standards are being followed. Sometimes multiple inspections must take place as specific points of construction. For example, if a steel lintel is being inserted into a structure, the Building Control Office must see it in place before it is covered over with plasterboards. This will allow the Officer to verify that the lintel is the correct size and strength and it has been inserted correctly.
After all the inspections have been successfully passed, the Building Control Officer will produce a certificate which will indicate that approval was given for that work. When a homeowner sells the property, they will be asked to produce all certificates. This will reassure that buyer that the property they are purchasing is sound.
What work requires approval?
To find out if your project will need approval, you should contact your local planning authority. The most common work requiring approval are as follows:
- a new building
- change or make bigger a building that is already built
- change the use of a building that is already built
- replacing consumer units or installing new electric circuits
- installing new plumbing and waste connections
- changing existing electric circuits near a bath or shower
- putting in a ventilation or air-conditioning system
- replacing windows and doors
- replacing roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs
- putting in or replacing a heating system
- adding extra radiators
Even if your building project adheres to the approved planning permission you must still meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.
What if the house I am buying does not have approval?
Purchasing a property that has been built or altered without receiving approval are a risk. As a buyer, you cannot be guaranteed that the property is safe or constructed in an appropriate manner. If you find a problem after purchase, the cost of resolving the problem will be completely your responsibility.
It is possible to apply for retrospective approval but it is costly, time consuming and you may not be successful.
Please contact us if you have further questions.