Site inspections and enforcement
Once an application has been submitted, or a building notice given, work can commence on site. Building regulations require that you or your builder notify the council at various stages so that we may carry out a site inspection. A site inspection will not check the quality of your builders work and we will not tell a builder exactly what materials to use. However, we will try to be helpful on site and give advice where we can, although our principal role is to ensure that any building work complies with the regulations.
What stages need to be inspected?
Early stages of the work (for example foundations, damp proof courses and underground drainage) must be notified to us, particularly where the work will be concealed following inspection. We also encourage you to notify us when other works, such as fire stopping, structural members and insulating materials may be inspected before being covered over.
In some cases we will want to witness, or even carry out tests to ensure that systems work. It is always advisable to have preliminary tests undertaken before we arrive, as delays will occur if a test fails.
It is our policy to issue a completion certificate (providing that all the relevant fees have been paid) as soon as a satisfactory final inspection has been made and the work has been found to comply with the regulations.
This certificate is a very important document when a property is to be sold. We usually send the certificate to the owner identified on the application form, but can send it to others on request.
When work is found not to comply with regulations during the building work, or within two years of completion, the Local Authority may, (under the powers of Section 35 of the Building Act 1984), take legal proceedings for a fine at the local Magistrates' Court.
We may also serve a Notice (under their powers contained in Section 36 of the Building Act 1984), requiring the builder to take down or alter the building work within 28 days. Failure to comply with the notice before the expiration of 28 days can result in the Local Authority pulling down or removing the work in question. Any costs reasonably incurred conducting the work may be recovered by the Local Authority. If the builder disagrees with the Local Authority, he may notify that he intends to obtain an independent expert report, (under Section 37 of the Building Act 1984) in which case the period is extended to 70 days.
The Local Authority may withdraw the notice in the light of the independent report. Nevertheless, if they do not, the builder may appeal the Section 36 Notice to the Magistrates' Court, (under section 40 of the Building Act 1984).
From July 2002, the Law Society as part of Solicitors "Searches" are required to ask questions to confirm that all necessary Building Control consents have been obtained for building works before a property can be sold or re-mortgaged. Failure to ensure that controlled building work does comply with the Building Regulations may lead to difficulties, delays and possible additional costs in any future sale of the property.
Please remember it is the owners responsibility to obtain planning permission (if required) prior to the commencement of work, including any pre-commencement planning conditions.
Development and Public Protection
0191 433 3144