12/11/2019 by Foysol Ahmed
What are Building Regulations and the role of a Building Inspector?
If you are thinking about adding a rear extension or constructing a loft conversion to your property you may have heard the term “Building Regulations” or “Building Regs” mentioned. These are a set of rules/regulations created by the English and Welsh governments to ensure any additions to a property will be safe, healthy and high-performing. As well as appointing a Party Wall Specialist, it is advisable to find out more about how Building Regulations will affect your proposed development.
Specifically, Building Regulations cover structural integrity, fire protection, accessibility, energy performance, acoustic performance, protection against falls, electrical and gas safety. Building Regulations also specify rules around drains, ventilation, protection against the ingress of water and protection against contamination including methane and radon gas.
There are a number of aspects that need to be discharged before works can commence, in some cases if you have no Party Wall Agreement or positive consent (in writing) in place (assuming the works are notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act) with your affected neighbour/s then works cannot proceed. Moreover, you will need to appoint a Building Control Officer (Local Authority) or an approved Officer (private Building Control) whose responsibility will be to sign off the works at interval stages to confirm compliance under current Building Regulations.
Building Regulations are different from Planning Permission
Building regulations are concerned with setting standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health and safety for the occupiers of the buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.
Planning permission and consent is concerned with guiding the way towns, cities and the countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the surrounding environment.
Where Building Regulations do not apply
Certain works are exempt from Building Regulations Approval, some examples include:
· Most repairs, replacements and maintenance work (except heating systems, oil tanks, fuse boxes and glazing units)
· New power and lighting points, or changes to existing circuits (except around baths and showers)
· Like-for-like replacements of baths, toilets, basins and sinks
· Rear out-buildings that are not for habitable use and do not exceed 30m2.
The Role of a Building Control Officer
Building inspectors are qualified professionals and have a working knowledge of the current regulations. Their sole job is to ensure that the works are inspected at intervals and the builders adhere all relevant Building Regulations.
When building your new extension or loft conversion, as well as appointing a Party Wall Surveyor London, you will need to appoint a Building Control Officer. This can be done via your local authority or through private firms.
Private inspectors are quicker to respond and can inspect at your convenience, but they may be more expensive. Local authority inspectors can be less flexible and the wait for an inspection can be much longer.
Need advice on Building Regulations and Inspectors? Do you need help with Party Wall Notices and Surveying? We at Seven One Associates are here to help.