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Understanding More About Building Regulations

A common view of Building Regulations is that they are an unwanted obstacle, set to impede your construction project. However, that’s not the case at all. Building Regulations are there to ensure your home is safe for you to live in; something we should never be cutting corners on.

Building Regulations are governed by Building Control. They aren’t there to stop your project or escalate your project costs and you shouldn’t be trying to skirt around them. They are a necessary set of standards to ensure health and safety.

You wouldn’t dream of not installing smoke detectors in your home, or seatbelts in your car. The risk of doing so could be catastrophic.

What do Building Regulations cover?

The minimum standard of Building Regulations to make your home safe and inhabitable cover a range of areas, including:

Structure

Any exterior work or internal alterations which will involve things like beams, joists or load bearing walls or work that might affect access to a property. Examples include conversions and sub-divisions, house extensions, cavity wall installation, replacement of floors or underpinning to foundations.

Electrical safety

Any changes to electrics, for example, new fittings, plugs or fuse boxes need to pass Building Regulations. This includes any work which requires new electrical wiring, in any area of the property, not just restricted to bathrooms and kitchens.

Fire

Your construction project must meet fire safety standards, ensuring the right materials are used and you have an adequate fire escape.

Ventilation

Properties need to demonstrate adequate insulation, for example all doors, windows or fixed air-conditioning systems.

Heating appliances

Regulations must be met if you wish to install or replace an existing boiler, add extra radiators or install a fuel burning appliance.

Plumbing ventilation

If you’re installing a new kitchen or bathroom, you need to ensure you comply with plumbing ventilation regulations.

What happens if I don’t comply with Building Regulations?

Failure to comply with Building Regulations could put you and your household, as well as visitors to your property at risk. Furthermore, when you come to sell your home, if you do not have a completion certificate for the works from the local authority, this could be picked up by land searches and flagged.

In either incidence, you could be prosecuted in a Magistrates’ Court or the local authority may serve an enforcement notice requiring alteration or removal of work which contravenes the regulations (section 36 of the 1984 Act). If you do not comply with the notice the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself, the costs of which you will be liable for.

If a person carrying out building work (builder, contractor etc) contravenes the Building Regulations, the local authority may prosecute them in the Magistrates' Court where an unlimited fine may be imposed (sections 35 and 35A of the Building Act 1984). Prosecution is possible within two years of completion of the works and involves the person carrying out the work.

For more information on Building Regulations, get in touch with Bluelime Projects.  With a team of skilled architects and house planners, we understand the ins and outs of building regulations and the requirements for your property extension.

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