Once the Planning Application has been submitted we will generally need to wait for approval before we begin to compile the Building Regulations drawings and the required Structural Calculations. Unlike the Planning drawings which demonstrate how the proposed alterations might change the look of the property and impact on its surroundings, Building Regulations drawings are focused on (among other things) how the building work will be undertaken, the thermal efficiency, suitability of products used and the structural integrity of the design. The Building Regulations drawings contain the detail needed to gain Building Control Approval – without which the design cannot be built.
Structural Calculations: As part of the Building Regulations Specification we will also liaise with Structural Engineers and arrange for them to provide the required Structural Calculations to include all beams, joists and rafters. We will not be able to confirm the cost of this element until we have a final design for the engineer to assess.
Submission of Building Regulations and Structural Plans:
A Full Plans Application requires the submission of detailed drawings to your Local Authority’s Building Control Department at least 5 weeks before building work starts, through a ‘Partnering’ Local Authority Building Control Department (which can sometimes prove quicker) or through an approved ‘Authorised Inspector’. (our prefered methodology) A Full Plans Submission is a safe and robust option as it ensures that the project will be signed-off at the end of construction as long as the builder constructs within the guidance of the approved drawings. Site visits by a Building Control Officer or Authorised Inspector are also required with a Full Plans Submission and are negotiated between your site manager (architect, builder, project manager or client) and the Local Building Control Inspector or Authorised Inspectors themselves. Authorised Inspectors are licenced private companies/individuals with the same ‘powers’ of sign-off as the LA, cost about the same as the LA but we feel are often far more motivated and flexible to get the job moving forward yet remaining bound by the Building Regulations and therefore as thorough in their approach.
Which route to take is a personal preference but we are happy to advise on the pros and cons of each.
A Quick and Easy Guide
The following section will guide you though the level of Building Control required for different types of building work. Holland and Green can take control of the whole Building Control application process from generating Building Control Drawings and Specifications to commissioning Structural Calculations and then run the whole process through the Building Control Plans submission to approval so that you can be confident that the final design and structure not only meets your aspirations but also the increasingly challenging Building Regulations.
Extensions and Loft Conversions
Extensions to a house requires Building Regulations approval and will need to be inspected during construction. The conversion of a roof space into a habitable room or rooms also requires Building Regulation approval and inspection. Converting the loft into a habitable space is regarded as adding an extra floor to the property and may affect Part B of Building Regulation, fire safety (this often results in the need to enclose the stairwell at lower levels and the need to install fire doors and self-closing mechanisms to all existing doors that separate the stairwell from existing and new habitable spaces). Extensions and loft conversions may also be subject to the Party Wall Act 1996.
Internal Alterations and Conversion of a Garage into Habitable Space
Building Regulations approval is required when building work involves internal alterations to the structure of the building, for example, the removal of load-bearing walls to create an open-plan space, which in turn could affect escape or other fire precautions (Part B of Building Regulations). The conversion of a garage into a habitable space also requires Building Regulations approval, and the existing structure must be brought in line with today’s demanding Building Regulation standard, including thermal and sound insulation.
Construction of Porches and Conservatories
Construction of porches and conservatories does not require Building Regulations approval, but must be built at ground level, not exceed 30m in floor area and be single storey. Glazing and fixed electrical installation must comply with Part N and Part P of Building Regulations. Porches and conservatories must have at least 75% translucent roof and 50% translucent walls and also have a separating door to the main property.
Construction of Greenhouses, Garden Sheds, Summerhouses and other outbuildings do not require full Building Regulations approval, unless they have a floor area of over 30m . They must be built at ground level and be single storey, any glazing and fixed electrical installation must meet Part N and Part P of Building Regulations.
Building Regulations approval is required if replacing the whole of the fixed-frame and opening parts of a window. If you employ a FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) registered installer, you will not need to involve Building Control. Building Regulations approval is not required if replacing broken glass, double glazing units or rotten sashes.
Installation of Insulation into Cavity Walls
Building Regulations approval is required when installing new insulation into cavity walls, ensuring the appropriate insulation material is used for that particular wall construction.
Fitting a W.C
Building Regulations approval is required if there are alterations to existing WC’s or new connections made to a drainage stack or any underground drain.
Building Regulations approval is required when constructing a new attached garage.
Detached garages do not require Building Regulations approval if the floor area is under 30m and the structure is single-storey with no sleeping accommodation. Additionally, it must be built of non-combustible materials and be no less than 1m from the boundary of a property.
Car Port Extensions
Car port extensions do not require Building Regulations approval, but must be open on at least two sides and be under 30m in floor area.