After you have applied for and received planning permission for your extension, you will then need to apply for Building Regulations. Planning Permission and Building Regulations Approval are completely separate requirements. It is important to check what you need and to obtain consent prior to starting work.
The Regulations are essentially a set of minimum building standards which provide acceptable levels of health and safety for people including those who are disabled, who live, work, visit or are in the vicinity of buildings. It is the responsibility of the Building Control Division of the local council to enforce the Building Regulations. These regulations change on a regular basis to keep in-line with new laws. Examples where regulations have changed in recent years is in the area of access for the disabled. External doors need to be a certain width to allow for wheelchair access. Also, newly built homes do not have the step in at the front door that most houses built in previous years have. Also the internal doors downstairs have a minimum width which is again wider that previously. Other regulations deal with ventilation. All new double-glazed windows must have the integrated vents – this is not the case for replacement windows.
When is a Building Regulations Application Required?
These Regulations apply to most building work, whether it is inside or outside the building. New buildings, extensions and even additions such as extra washing facilities and hot water storage systems all need approval before work starts.
There are two methods of making a Building Regulations submission, a Building Notice, and a Full Plans Application.
You can apply for building regulations approval via a Building Notice if you believe that your plans do not need to be inspected by the council’s surveyors. To apply via this route you will need to provide the council with a completed Building Notice application form, a site location plan to the relevant scale and the required fee. You will need to check the relevant fee with your local council as they can vary dependent on the area in which you live. Once the council has accepted your application you can commence work after a delay of 48 hours.
Full Plans Application
The majority of building work relevant to extensions will require this form of building regulations submission. Along with a completed Building Regulations application form you must supply full building plans which must include methods of construction and materials to be used and a plan of the site location. This, obviously, must be accompanied by the relevant fee, the amount of which can be advised by your local council. You may have to provide more than one copy of each of the documents listed, you will need to check with your local council with regards to the number of copies required.
Once you have submitted the application the council’s surveyor will verify that the correct method of construction and materials are to be used according to the relevant building regulations. Building can commence once the application has been approved.
At various stages of the building process a council building inspector will visit the site to check that all building regulations are being adhered to. This is irrespective of whether you have applied for a Building Notice or a Full Plans Application. The first of these will probably occur once the trench for the foundations has been completed. There is, again, a fee chargeable by the council for these inspections and you will probably be invoiced after the first visit. However, it must be remembered that the inspectors are there to ensure that your building works are constructed correctly. Therefore, you can ask them to inspect part of a construction if you are not happy with it. Alternatively, the builder may ask for the building inspector to attend the site when they are unsure about a specific situation, e.g. the house extensions are very deep and they need to know whether to go as deep as these foundations or to use a floating foundation.
Once the work is successfully completed the Council will issue you with a Completion Certificate provided that a request was made at the time of submitting the application. A Completion Certificate indicates an acceptable standard of compliance with the Building Regulations at the time of the Completion Inspection. It is important that you keep this document somewhere safe as you will not be able to sell your property at a later date unless you can provide this proof of building works being carried out to the required standard. If you do lose this document your council may charge you for providing a duplicate.