Woking Borough Council
Civic OfficesGloucester SquareWokingSurreyGU21 6YL
Telephone: 01483 755855
Building Regulations impose a set of minimum standards on people carrying out certain specified works in or about buildings. They are primarily for the purposes of public health and safety, the conservation of fuel and power and access and use of buildings.
Building Control ensures, through the checking of plans and the inspection of work, that these requirements are met.
This option is suitable for all types of proposed work. It involves submitting two copies of the plans and information in sufficient detail to show that the construction will comply with the Building Regulations.
Plans are checked for compliance, with the Building Regulations, and a decision is made. We will discuss any amendments with you to help you gain approval.
You are advised to check whether your work affects a public sewer prior to submitting your application. Your local water authority will require you to obtain consent from them, and in certain circumstances, instruct us to refuse your proposals or require precautions to be taken to protect the sewer.
When work involves buildings subject to fire safety legislation, such as offices, shops, factories, hotels and workplaces an additional copy of plans showing compliance with Part B (Fire Safety) is required.
A list of key construction stages will be issued to you so that you can contact us and arrange inspection of your work.
If work has not commenced within three years of the date on which the application was deposited, we may issue a letter informing you that the deposit of plans is declared to be of no effect.
This option notifies us that you intend to carry out work.
If the work involves the erection or extension of a building, plans of the site, location of the proposal and details of any drainage work are required on submission.
Plans are not approved with this option, although we may ask you to submit additional information to justify work. Building Notices are suited to minor works for people who have a good knowledge of building and the Building Regulations.
Building Notices, unless the work is an emergency repair, cannot be used where work effects a public sewer, involves the erections of a building fronting onto a private street or involves buildings subject to certain fire safety legislation. Full Plans should be used in these instances.
A list of key construction stages will be issued to you so that you can contact us and arrange inspection of your work.
A Building Notice automatically expires if work is not commenced within three years of the date on which the notice was given.
This option allows the owner of a building to apply for retrospective Building Regulation approval for illegal building work. It cannot be used for any work that was carried out before 1 November 1985. On deposit of the application we will:
An application for a Regularisation Certificate does not prevent the Council taking legal action, where possible, for failure to comply with the Building Regulations when the work was first carried out.
This option is available, to the owner of a building, following the withdrawal of an Approved Inspector. The procedure is similar to theRegularisation option.
Building Regulations apply to any work that is classed as building work. This includes:
Building Regulations are drafted to protect health and safety. In an attempt to reduce the legislative burden for small buildings where there was considered to be no risk to health and safety, the Building Regulations exempt from the requirements the buildings listed below.
The extension of a building at ground floor level having a floor area which does not exceed 30m2 by the addition of:
* Conservatories or porches are exempt only if the glazing they contain complies with Part N of the Building Regulations (see advisory leaflet on safety glazing).
Those which remain for less than 28 days.
This section provides information about improvements to building legislation which will help the disabled.
This Act relates to all buildings and premises to which the public have access and also relates to employers and their responsibilities to their staff. From 1 October 2004, service providers have had to make reasonable adjustments to the physical features of their premises to overcome physical barriers to access.
Access statements should be submitted with the following types of planning application:
Once you have given a Building Notice or submitted a Full Plans application, you can start work at any time, but you must give the Councila 'Notice of Commencement' two days before doing so. However, if you start work before you receive a decision on your Full Plans application, you may not be able to see a 'determination' from the Secretary of State if there is a dispute.
Building Regulation 15 gives full details of the provision of notices.
The Building Regulations can be contravened by not following the building control procedures set out for handling your building work. They can also be contravened by carrying out building work which does not comply with the technical requirements contained in the Building Regulations. This will come to light during the inspections carried out by the building control service.
How are the Building Regulations enforced?
The Council has a general duty to enforce the Building Regulations in its area and will do so by informal means wherever possible.
Where an approved inspector is providing the building control service, the responsibility for checking that the regulations are complied with will lie with that inspector. They will do this by advising you. However, they do not have enforcement powers. In a situation where they consider your building work does not comply with the regulations, they will not issue you with a final certificate and will cancel the initial notice by notifying the Council. If no other approved inspector takes on the work, the building control service will automatically be taken on by the Council. From this point, the Council will have enforcement powers to require you to alter your work, if they consider this necessary.
If a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the Councilmay decide to takeyou to the Magistrates' Court where you could be fined up to £5,000 for the contravention, and up to £50 for each day the contravention continues after conviction.
This action (under Section 35 of the Building Act 1984) will usually be taken against the builder or main contractor, although proceedings should be taken within six months of the offence. Alternatively, or in addition, the Council may (under Section 36 of the Act) serve an Enforcement Notice on the owner requiring them to alter or remove work which contravenes the regulations. If the owner does not comply with the notice, the Council has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs from the owner.
You cannot be served with a Section 36 Enforcement Notice more than 12 months after the date of completion of the building work. But this does not affect the Council's (or any other person's) right to apply to the Courts for an injunction for the same purpose. A Local Authority cannot take enforcement action under Sections 35 and 36 if the work which you have carried out is in accordance with your plans which the authority approved or failed to reject within the statutory time of five weeks (or two months with your agreement) from deposit of the plans.
What happens if you disagree with a Local Authority's Enforcement Notice?
Normally a Local Authority's Enforcement Notice will give you 28 days to rectify the building work.
If you wish to contest the Notice on the grounds that you believe your building work does comply with the Building Regulations, you can advise your Local Authority that you would like to commission a written report from a suitably qualified person about the compliance of your work with a view to persuading the Authority to withdraw the notice. In this event the 28 day period to rectify the building work is extended to 70 days.
Alternatively, you can appeal against the Notice in the Magistrates' Court and demonstrate that your building work complies. This option can be used either as an alternative to the above, or if proceedings under that option have been unsuccessful. You should make your appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice or within 70 days if you have used above option first.
If you are successful with either option,the Councilmay have to pay your costs.
If on the other hand you believe that your work cannot be expected to comply with one or more of the requirements in the Building Regulations because they are too onerous or inapplicable, you do have the right to apply to your Local Authority for a relaxation or dispensation of the requirement(s) in question in order for your completed building work to be considered to achieve compliance.
Your application should be made within 28 days of receiving the Enforcement Notice from the Council. If they refuse your application you have a right of appeal to the Department for Communities and Local Government against that refusal, providing you do so within one month of that decision.
Local Authorities are obliged to make a charge for the work of administrating the Building Regulations. A fee is payable in two stages, the first at the time plans are submitted. A further fee may be payable following the first inspection on site. An account will be forwarded to you immediately after this inspection.
When the drawings are inspected it may be noted that a number of minor amendments are required. In order than unnecessary delays are eliminated, we take the opportunity to add these amendments to the drawings on your behalf. They appear on the plan in red ink and we would advise that your builder be informed before commencing work on site.
Where plans are defective or show a contravention of the Regulations, the plans may still be approved subject to conditions requiring specified modifications or the deposit of further plans. These amendments or additional details should be deposited without delay and not less than five weeks prior to the work starting on site.
Where proposals involve the excavation of foundations, consideration needs to be given to the ground conditions, and the position and type of trees (if any), within the area of the proposed work. This is generally recognised as within a distance equal to the mature height of the tree. The surveyor responsible for your work will gladly arrange a site visit in order to advise a safe depth for the foundation.
Should your proposed work involve works to an existing wall shared with another property; a new building on a boundary with a neighbouring property; or excavating within 6m of the boundary then you should establish whether the work falls within the scope of the Party Wall Act 1996. If it does you must serve a statutory notice on all affected owners.
If the works involve the carrying out of works that may in any way interfere with the amount of light received by the adjoining property, your are advised to consult with the owner of the property at the design stage. Consultation before commencement may avoid claims for damages due to loss of light after the building has been erected. Any disputes arising over rights of light should be resolved between you and your neighbour as they are matters of civil law.
When the building control surveyor is satisfied that building works on site comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations, a Completion Certificate will be issued. This Certificate will indicate to funding institutions and the legal profession that new works will, so far as the Council has been able to ascertain, conform with the substantive requirement of the Regulations.
In addition to Building Regulations, you may also require planning permission. Before you start work please contact Planning Services for guidance regarding this matter.