FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Building regulations are a set of minimal standards to be designed and constructed on any building to ensure the health and safety of those who will use the building.
Building regulation drawings are to demonstrate that the proposed works meet structural, environmental, thermal, fire, health and safety contained within the Building Act. Whether its a new kitchen extension or a new home, the building regulation drawings will contain detailed information to ensure the construction is compliant and fit for purpose. For example, the building regulation drawings will include construction information for the walls, roof and floor, size of windows, amount and type of insulation used, drainage, lighting, sockets, just to name a few.
Building regulations and planning permission are two separate legislation. Building regulations involve the construction of the building and how the building will be used, whilst planning permission involve the use of land and appearance of building to see whether there is any impact on the environment. Planning Officers and Building Control Surveyors are two separate departments and do not work together on any project or application.
We would normally send a letter once you have obtained planning permission or certificate of lawfulness (permitted development approval) from the council. If you have not obtained permission from the council but wish to progress with the building regulations drawing sooner, please contact us and we will will happy to send a fee letter for these stages.
If you have spoken to a builder, it is very common they will ask for a set of building regulation drawings for them to price for the proposed works involved. If you have planning permission or received a certificate of lawfulness (permitted development rights), you should of received a letter from us describing the next stages involved which include building regulation drawings and obtaining quotes from local builders. If however, you have recently submitted a planning application and await a decision, we advise not to process with the building regulation drawings until permission is granted from the council. We are mindful from time to time that the council could request amendments to the planning drawings, resulting in abortive work and additional design fees if you were to progress with the building regulation drawings. As much as we have a high planning success rate, we do encourage our clients to wait for a decision on the application before proceeding with the building regulation stages, however if you would like us to progress with building regulations drawings sooner, please contact us and we will will happy to send a fee letter for these stages.
Our building regulation fee covers the production of construction drawings and submission to an Approved Inspector or Local Building Control Surveyor. Our fee does not cover third party fees such as building control surveyor or approved inspector, structural engineer or SAP calculations however we may include them as part of the fee letter so you are aware of the overall costs involved with the project.
Normally the fee for producing building regulation drawings is around one to one and half times the cost of the planning drawings stage. In some cases, the fee maybe higher depending on the complexity of the project, requiring further information and details to be produced.
The structural engineer will provide a fee based on final drawings and will write a letter to you separately. Normally the letter is sent to us by email before forwarding on to you, the client.
Yes of course, you can make changes to the internal layout as long as there no changes externally which may incur another planning application. It is recommended to contact us as soon as possible so we are aware of the changes. If the building regulation and construction drawings are in production and changes are required, there will be charge to carry out additional work.
If you have all the permissions in place including discharging any planning conditions, then you can start on site within 24 - 48 hours. We will require notification of your intent to start early, so we can fill the appropriate paperwork to submit a Building Notice.
A building notice is a permit to start building. It is designed to enable small building work to get underway quickly, with or without the need of the drawings and plans. If you decide not to use drawings and plans, you need to be confident that the work will comply with the Building Regulations or you will risk having to correct any work you carry out if the Building Control Surveyor requests this.
Not necessarily, our drawings contain a great level of information and specification to enable a Building Notice straightaway. However in some cases such as household extension, the Building Control Surveyor may request further information such as how the extension will connect to the existing drainage system and whether or not there there is any structural design and calculations to cover areas such as steel beams, foundations and roof design. It is very common that the builder will resolve and liase with the Building Control Surveyor over the drainage and structural issues.
A full plans check is usually for larger projects such an office conversion or new build houses, where the Building Control Surveyor will inspect the construction drawings in advance before building work commences on site. They will also check with other consultants (such as a fire officer) to see whether the construction is compliant with the Building Regulations. They must complete the procedure by issuing you with a decision within five weeks or a maximum of two months from the date of deposit. If the plans and drawings comply with the Building Regulations you will receive a notice stating that they have been approved.
You do not have to submit building regulation drawings straight away, you are perfectly entilted to wait until you have a builder in place.
If the Building Control Surveyor is not satisfied with the level of information from a full plans check, you may be asked to make amendments or provide further information regarding the construction. If the information required is relatively simple to overcome, they may provide an approval to the drawings subject to certain conditions. If the information is not received within a certain timeframe, the Building Control Surveyor could refuse the plans as there is insufficient information to show compliance with the Building Regulations.
Once you have received the building regulation drawings, you will have the opportunity to review the drawings and respond back to us with any changes. If so, we would be happy to oblige until the drawings are finalised.
The best approach would be to print the drawings off and scribble the changes using a colour pen. When you have finished, take a photo (or scan) using your smartphone and send the image by text, email or WhatsApp. This is a quick and easy process and should take no longer than a couple of minutes.
You can take as long as you want, however if we receive no response within 7 working days. We will assume the drawings are good and therefore issue an invoice for the works.
Yes you can send the drawings off to builders for quotes, as long as you (the client) are happy with the drawings and there are no more changes to made.
Once the building regulation and construction drawings are finalised by you (the client), the drawings are then submitted to the structural engineer who will proceed with their services on the project.
If your builder has recommended a structual engineer, you are perfectly entitlted to use their services.
That depends on the level of information required prior to commencing works on site. It you are in doubt, it would be best to contact the structural engineer directly.
If you are happy and comfortable with the cost from a builder, you are perfectly entitled to engage with them. The builder will offer their earliest availability to start the project; how long the project will take and contract details (including price and payment options) for you to agree to. Our services are limited from this point as you will be in the hands off the builder.
Once you have received a Building Notice from the Council, you can begin works with immediately. As part of the Building Notice, there will be a requirement to inform the Building Control Suveyor of certain stages of the works such as any excavations, building of foundations, damp proof course, floor construction, drainage just to name a few.
We do offer site inspection and project management depending on the complexity of the project and level of involvement between parties. If the project involves a house extension, we do not necessarily need to carry out site visits because many builders we work with are more than competent enough to carry out the build till completion. If we are in the area or passing by, we will pop round and see how the build is progressing, maybe take a few photos and have a friendly chat.
Once you are in the hands of the builder, our services are complete and no more additional services are required from us. The builder will liaise with their team of sub-contractors who will follow the information off the drawings. The builder will also liaise with the Approved Inspector of Building Control Surveyor to inspect the works at certain stages of the project. We do not need to be present for these visits.
You (the client) or the builder must provide the council written notice of completion no more than 5 days after completion or following occupation. The Building Control Surveyor or Approved Inspector will then be able to inspect the works and sign off the building completion certificate.