Thursday, 19 September 2013

Submission of Plans to Building Control

After the Architect and the Structural Engineer have finished the designs and calculation they are then handed back to us for submissions off full plans building regulation application, certificate of lawfulness for proposed development or full planning application. We will discuss the latter two in our next blogs
Let’s start with building regulations. In short they are there for, and I quote 
The "Building regulations are about making sure all buildings are habitable, safe, dry and warm, when building or making alterations to your home.
Getting building work approved by your local council’s building control team, guarantee that the work is safe and up to building regulations standards as well as protecting you against rogue builders. So you should seek their advice before starting any building project.

We at Attic Designs Ltd have for a number of years now have enjoyed a close working relationship with Exeter Building Control via the LABC partner scheme. Head of Exeter building control invited us to partner as they felt we would benefit from the service they, and the LABC partner scheme provide. 
Exeter checks most of our plans regardless of what council area the property resides in. The passing of plans decision notice is then handed to the local authority to continue the procedure of inspecting the work as it progresses.
Benefits of LABC Account Management
• A single point of contact for all your Building Control work in England and Wales
• Clear, honest and consistent advice and reporting
• Site inspections from a local professional team with invaluable local contacts and knowledge
• A Building Control Surveyor in your Design/Development Team who can provide unique access to the planning department, the highways engineers and local fire service
• Strong and historical links with the Fire and Rescue Service
• In-depth expertise on structure, fire, noise, warranties, access, contamination, energy and sustainability from LABC specialists and our business partners
• Access to Building Control Surveyors based near the project to ensure fast response times
• By using local Building Control Surveyors you improve your projects carbon footprint by reducing travel miles
• National policy and consistent technical standards
• Simplified correspondence, faster resolution of queries and reduced paperwork
• Simplified fees and invoicing arrangements
• Electronic submissions and e-working
• The use of the LABC Partner logo on all of your marketing materials
• Access to LABC Registered Details*
• House Types as LABC Registered Buildings*
• Access to bespoke LABC Training packages*
• LABC Consult* 
Our entire CAD (Computer-aided design) plans are emailed to our point of contact at Exeter Building Control. The plans along with Building notes and various specifications we add are then checked for compliance.
The three types of applications that can be made are;
Full plans application
This requires the submission of drawings with details showing how you intend to comply with the regulations. We have a minimum of 5 weeks to check the plans for compliance that the applicant can request to be extended up to 2 months. The plans are checked and if any Building Regulation issues are found the applicant/agent is informed and given a chance to correct them. Once the application shows compliance, a Building Regulations Approval Notice is issued. Work is checked during construction and a Completion Certificate is issued when we are satisfied that the work has been completed satisfactorily. Where The Regulatory Reform [Fire Safety] Order 2005 applies, a Full Plans Application must be deposited.
Building notice (we do not recommend this application type)
This is suitable for works to dwellings, however not all works can be carried out on a building notice; there are restrictions for situations such as building over or near a sewer. Work can start once we have registered the building notice.  Inspections are carried out during the construction and a Completion Certificate is issued as per the Full Plans procedure. The fees for a Building Notice will be higher than a Full Plans Application. 
Regularisation. (this also is the route some illegal loft conversions try when "found out")
If you have carried out works without building control approval, a retrospective application can be made to certify that the works are within the regulations. There is an additional fee for a regularisation application. You may be asked to expose elements of the work in order to prove they comply.

All of our loft conversion applications have full plans applications made however two difference stand out using the partner scheme. 
1. Working together as close partners for the end result of a fully compliant loft conversion.
2. Prompt replies to applications, correspondence and site visits.

We will not start work without all plans being passed for building regulation compliance. This is to give you peace of mind that what is being built is legal, safe and has been thoroughly check,

The council inspector will then go on the check work as it commences that it is being built in accordance with the passed plans passed under our LABCagreement.