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Building Control Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the Building Regulations?
- What is the difference between Building Control and Planning Permission?
- When is Building Regulations approval required?
- What is the difference between "Full Plans" and "Building Notice" applications?
- Is there any difference between the cost of "Full Plans" and Building Notice" applications?
- Do I need Building Regulations approval to erect a conservatory or a greenhouse?
- Do I need Building Regulations approval to install or replace electrical wiring?
- How much do I have to pay?
- Can I draw the plans myself?
- Do my neighbours have a right to object to what is proposed in my Building Regulations application?
- When can I start work?
- How do I arrange for a Building Control Officer to inspect my building works?
- Can I obtain a completion letter once the works have been finished?
- Are there any penalties for contravening the Building Regulations?
- How do I complain if I am not happy with the service I have received?
- Where can I obtain more information about the Building Regulations?
The Building Regulations are legal requirements that apply to building work and are aimed at achieving minimum standards of construction to ensure the health and safety of people in or around buildings. They are also concerned with energy conservation and with access and facilities for disabled people.
Approval under the Building Regulations is entirely separate from the process of obtaining Planning Permission.
In simple terms, Planning Permission relates mainly to the correct use of land, the aesthetic appearance of the proposed building and the effect that the development will have on the general environment and neighbouring properties. Planning also deals with protecting listed buildings and conservation areas.
Building Control, on the other hand, are concerned with the way in which the building is constructed, its structural stability, means of escape and fire precautions, weather resistance, energy conservation, sound insulation, access and facilities for people with disabilities, etc.
Building Regulations approval will usually be required if you intend to carry out any of the following work:-
- Build a new building
- Build an extension or form a room in the roof space (loft conversion).
- Carry out structural alterations to an existing building, including forming a through lounge or removing chimney breasts etc.
- Change the use of an existing building - such as converting a house into flats.
- Provision, extension or alteration of drainage facilities - such as a new bathroom or toilet.
- Recovering a roof structure (in certain circumstances).
Should you be in any doubt as to whether the proposals require Building Regulation consent, please contact Building Control.
Please note the Building Control Officers are out on site visits from 10.30am to 4pm.
A "Full Plans" application is the most common way to make a Building Regulations application. For a "Full Plans" application we will require full drawings and a detailed specification, as a decision will be made based upon checking the plans. The authority has up to 8 weeks to Approve, Conditionally Approve, or Reject an application.
A "Building Notice" application can be made for smaller works, although no formal prior Approval is given. All aspects of work will be agreed on site at the time of construction. Please note that we may still ask for various details prior to commencement on site for "Building Notice" applications as required.
A "Full Plans" application generally involves a two stage payment: one when you submit your plans (Plan Charge) and one following the first inspection on site (Inspection Charge). The Charge payable on submission of a "Building Notice" is the same as the total charge payable on a "Full Plans" application, and is payable at deposit of the Notice.
Generally, you do not need to submit an application under the Building Regulations for a detached green house. A conservatory to be exempt must be less than 30 square metres in floor area, at least 75 per cent of the roof and 50 per cent of the walls should be translucent (glass, polycarbonate etc) and should be thermally separated from the rest of the dwelling. You should ensure that all criteria are met and you are advised to consult Building Control to confirm exemption.
Please note: Planning permission may still be required and you should consult the Planning department.
Full details of the Building Regulation Charges system and amounts payable are available on request and guidance is supplied with all application forms. If the work is specifically for the benefit of a disabled person then it may qualify for exemption from payment of the charges.
Further information of Charges may be obtained by contacting Building Control or by checking our fixed fees tables shown below:
Yes, but you should have a good knowledge of building construction and the requirements of the building regulations. It is likely that employing an architect, building surveyor, or other professional will produce better results and reduce delay in obtaining approvals.
No. There is no requirement in the Building Regulations to consult neighbours (although it would be courteous for you to do so).
If you are undertaking work to which the provisions of the Party Wall Act will apply you must notify neighbours in accordance with the Act. A guidance document on the Act is available from Building Control.
You may start work after you have submitted a valid Full Plans or Building Notice application. At least two days notice must be given of your intention to commence work and must be made in writing or by email to Building Control. Either the applicant or builder should notify us at the required stages.
Please note: Should works commence prior to a Full Plans application being either Approved or Conditionally Approved, the works are the responsibility of the owners until Approvals have been given.
Telephone 01707 357391 between 8.45am and 10.30am or between 3.30pm and 5.15pm (4.45 on Fridays) to arrange a site inspection.
Requests should be made BEFORE 10am for inspection required the same day.
Yes. When your work is finished you should contact us to arrange a final inspection.
Completion letters are issued FREE for both Full Plans applications and Building Notice applications on satisfactory completion of the work, provided you have kept us informed of the appropriate stages.
Contravention of the Building Regulations by building without making an application to the local authority (or Approved Inspector), or by carrying out work that does not comply, may lead to a criminal conviction and a fine.
Both the owner and the builder have a responsibility to make sure a Building Regulation application is made before work starts and that notification of the various stages of work is given to Building Control.
If you are not happy with any part of our service, or have any sort of complaint to make, please contact:
Building Control Manager
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Welwyn Garden City
All guidance leaflets etc are also available from our the Council Offices reception area in Welwyn Garden City.
Opening hours: 8.45am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday (4.45pm Fridays).