What does building control do?

Building control

There are some projects that need official approval from the authorities – building control, to be specific. It is so important, in fact, that there is a whole law surrounding it. You need approval for extensions and new builds, but also for seemingly smaller jobs such as exchanging fuse boxes, installing a bathroom if it involves plumbing work, replacing windows, and a host of other projects.

Here is everything you need to know about building control and how to work with your local officer to make the process go smoothly…  

What is building control?  

Building control is a service designed to protect your health and safety in your home. It is based on Building Regulations, which means complying with it is a legal requirement, and will be enforced by your council’s building control officers.  

What does building control do?  

The law sets out regulations on how you can construct or change elements of your home. You must check if you need approval before you undertake these works.  

If you hire a trade registered with a competent persons scheme, you will not need to apply for building control approval. These schemes allow installers to self-certify that their work complies with building standards, plus they can deal with issues such as objections. Trades registered with these schemes will also tell your local authority about the works on your behalf and give you a certificate of compliance within eight weeks of completing the project.  

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Why do I need it?  

Building control is based on Building Regulations, which is a law. It ensures that our homes (and other buildings) are up to the standard that protect our safety and health. It applies to all aspects of constructions, including foundations, structural elements, and ventilation, but also heating, plumbing, and electrical work.  

Apart from making sure your home is safe, it can also protect you from unsafe practices. Regular site visits help ensure that your construction works are going in the right direction and comply with the law.  

How much does it cost?  

Councils can set the charges themselves, so check with your local authority. However, no matter where you are, they will depend on the kind of project your are undertaking and, in the case of new builds, extensions, and loft conversions, on the floor area.

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For some projects, the inspection may also be free of charge – but always check before you start any building work and factor this into your budget.

Building regulations you need to know about:

There are a few key parts of the legislation you, as the client, should know about. Don’t worry, there is no complicated legal speak…  

  • Part B – Covering everything related to fire, this part covers what you need to be safe – from alerts and fire doors to how resistant building materials and structural elements are.
  • Part F – You probably know that a windowless bathroom needs a ventilator – this part of the law is the reason for that rule, as well as all other ventilation-related regulations.
  • Part P – This is about electrical safety and means anyone carrying out electrical work must make sure it is installed to protect you from fire and electric shock.

Got a question? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image: iStock.

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