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Are you in the know about building regulations?

PUBLISHED: 12:16 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:19 20 November 2019

Building regulations cover all aspects of construction, including foundations, energy efficiency, structural stability, insulation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire, says Spire Solicitors' Craig Ward. Picture: Getty Images

Building regulations cover all aspects of construction, including foundations, energy efficiency, structural stability, insulation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire, says Spire Solicitors' Craig Ward. Picture: Getty Images

Feverpitched

Do you need separate consent when carrying out work on your home? Craig Ward from Spire Solicitors reveals all you need to know.

Building regulations control is primarily concerned with the health and safety aspects of the dwelling to be constructed or altered and regulates the types of materials and construction methods adopted when carrying out the work. Building regulations cover all aspects of construction, including foundations, energy efficiency, structural stability, insulation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire. They apply to all types of building, whether domestic, commercial or industrial, although there are some exemptions.

When is building regulations consent required?

Whenever building works are carried out they must comply with building regulations. The need for this is separate from planning consent and compliance is required even where the works fall within permitted development and do not require express planning permission. There is a requirement for plans to be filed with the local authority which will, on satisfactory completion of the works, issue a final certificate. This certificate should be retained with the title deeds to the property as evidence of compliance with building regulation control and will be required in the event of a subsequent sale.

What are the consequences of not obtaining consent?

If building regulation consent is not obtained the local authority may do one or more of the following:-

1. Prosecute in the magistrates court

2. Serve an enforcement notice (must be served within 12 months from the date of completion of the building work that is in breach)

3. Apply for an injunction

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Regardless of whether enforcement action is taken by the local authority it is an often overlooked point that any works which do not comply with building regulations may be unsafe and potentially dangerous. Non-compliance may also adversely affect the property's value for mortgage purposes.

What can I do if approval was not obtained?

Three main options are available if the Building Regulations were not complied with when the works were carried out. These are:

1. Regularisation. This is in effect an application for retrospective consent however the works would need to be compliant with building regulations and if they are not it could potentially be a costly and time-consuming affair to rectify any defects.

2. Insurance. It may be possible to obtain indemnity insurance protecting against the risk of local authority enforcement action.

3. Relying on limitation periods for enforcement

Hopefully when you decide to purchase a property there will be no building regulation issues to address however should any problems arise please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077 for all your legal needs.

This column is sponsored by Spire Solicitors.

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