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  • Writer's pictureVerulam Surveyors

Building Notice or Full Plans?

Do you really need to submit a Full Plans application or will a Building Notice be sufficient? When considering an extension on your home, planning approval may be the first thought possibly followed by Party Wall Awards. Often Building Control approval isn’t considered straight away. We are frequently asked which route to go down when applying for approval. The options available are Building Notice or Full Plans Application.

The Full Plans Application is made well before the works are due to be carried out, this means submitting detailed plans including structural engineers calculations and design details clearing showing how certain aspects of the Approved Documents are to be met. The local authority building control may request further information or plans following advice from other authorities such as fire or health. If the plans are deemed to comply the plans may be approved. They have to issue a decision within five weeks or a maximum of two months from the date of submission. Even when the plans are approved a local authority building control surveyor requests to inspect the works at certain stages of the build, usually foundations, damp proof course level, structural works and completion. This is partly to ensure the works are being carried out as per the submitted design.

The alternative is a building Notice, this is recommended on smaller works and alterations. The application is made with only a site plan submitted. The works are then inspected at certain stages as the project progresses. This enables the project to commence quickly but does leave the client at risk as the inspector can refuse works which do not comply resulting in the works having to be done again at the clients expense. Inspections are usually carried out at the following stages; commencement, foundations, damp proof course, sewers and drains, structural elements, fire proofing and on completion, or at any other point at the inspectors discretion.

There are instances where a building notice should not be used; for large complex projects, works to which The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies, works in close proximity or over rainwater or foul drains and where new buildings front onto a private street.

Once works are complete and signed off, the Building Control Inspector will provide a completion certificate to prove that works have been carried out in accordance with the building regulations. It is worth remembering that failure to comply with the Building Regulations can result in fines and an enforcement notice requiring rectification of the works.

Also available is a regularisation process for getting approval for building works that have been carried out without approval, however inspectors can request opening up works and issue the same fines and enforcement if works do not comply.

f you are at all confused about which option is best for you please get in touch, not only can we provide free advice, we can carry out the entire process for you, from submitting the plans and application to completion.

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