Types of application
What types of application are there?
There are several different types of application you can make and you can pick the one you prefer. The vast majority of our applicants use either a Full Plans Application or a Building Notice and there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Find out if you need building regulation consent by filling in the Householder enquiry form.
Full plans applications - the advantages
With this type of application you submit an application form, the required charge and two copies of plans showing exactly how your proposal will be constructed. We then check the plans carefully against the standards required by the Building Regulations and attempt to find all the problems at a time when they can most easily be corrected. Once the plan has been approved, we carry out inspections at regular intervals during construction so you will know in advance what is required so there should be no nasty surprises. This is the main reason we check the plans so carefully in the first place - to avoid problems later when they may be more difficult to put right.
The charge for the application is generally paid in two instalments - normally you pay approximately 25% of the charge when the application is submitted and the remainder will be invoiced to you when works start. This is not always the case however and you should refer to the charges scheme for further details.
Full plans applications - the disadvantages
You need to have a set of very detailed plans drawn up to include all the information necessary to carry out the work - from the depth of the foundations to the height of the chimney. Although some applicants do prepare these plans themselves, most need to employ a designer or Architect to do this for them, and this can be expensive.
Once the plans have been submitted to us it takes about two weeks for us to carry out the required checks and notify you (or your agent) as to whether they are satisfactory or not. If additional information is required or the plans need to be amended, then there can be a further delay while we wait for the details requested, and because of this, it often takes between 5 and 8 weeks for you to receive a formal decision.
Building notice applications - the advantages
With this type of application you are only required to submit an application form and the required charge. We do not normally require plans with a Building Notice application (other than a site plan if an extension is involved), hence you may not need the services of a designer or architect.
Once the notice has been submitted you have to wait only 48 hours before starting the work so there are no long time delays involved in this type of application.
Building notice applications - the disadvantages
As no plan is needed you will obviously never receive the protection that an Approved Plan would give you, and the whole process of making sure your work complies with the Building Regulations is carried out at the site inspection stage. This has one major disadvantage, because if a problem is found it will usually be after you have carried out a significant amount of work, which you may then have to take down and do again. Please note that even if you choose to submit a plan with a Building Notice Application it will not be checked. The only way to get an approved plan on which you can rely is to make a full plans application.
With a Building Notice Application the risk of making sure work complies with the building regulations is yours. You need to be very sure that you (or your builder) know all the relevant regulations and that you will be able to prove that works comply to the Building Control Officer when they visit.
While not strictly a Building Control problem, the absence of a plan can lead to disputes between clients and their builders, e.g. if your extension is 100mm shorter than you expected (and the kitchen units will not fit).
The total charge for the work has to be paid when the Building Notice is submitted, and even if you later change your mind and the works are not carried out, the charge can only be returned to you after the notice has expired (currently 3 years).
Building Notices can only be used for domestic applications, and not for offices, shops or other commercial or industrial works.
So which should I choose?
It's entirely up to you - and whichever choice you make we will offer you the best possible service.
It may appear that the way we have summarised the advantages and disadvantages of each application type is intended to guide you away from the Building Notice route, but this is not our intention. For smaller work, and with the benefit of an experienced builder, Building Notice applications are often the obvious choice and the majority of work involved is carried out without problems. We want you to know all the facts so that you can make a well-informed choice.
In both cases the application must be made before works start, the total charge paid will be exactly the same and, when the works have been completed to our satisfaction, you will be sent a completion certificate confirming that the works comply with the Building Regulations. The completion certificate is a very important document. When you sell the property, you will almost certainly be asked for proof that any work carried out during your ownership complied with all relevant regulations.
For further guidance please contact us.
Other application types
The vast majority of applications the Borough Council receives are either Full Plans applications or Building Notices. There are however two other types of applications available.
The Regularisation Certificate
The Regularisation Certificate is a special type of application, and is used only where works have already been carried out without consent. As it is illegal to carry out work requiring Building Regulation consent without first obtaining consent, you should never need to make an application of this type.
There are circumstances however, particularly where work may have been carried out over a year ago, where the Borough Council will not take enforcement action. In these cases, although you may not face prosecution, you will find it extremely difficult to sell the property as any solicitor will almost certainly wish to see proof of Building Regulation Approval.
If you are in this situation, the only way of obtaining Building Regulation consent after the event is to make a Regularisation Certificate application. You would do this by completing a Regularisation Certificate application form and submitting it to the Borough Council together with the appropriate charge and full details of the works carried out.
You will then be contacted by a Building Control Officer who will arrange with you a convenient time to visit the property, and then make an initial appraisal of the work requiring consent. It is highly likely that at this stage you will be asked to "open up" works so that the Officer can see the construction hidden behind plasterboard or under floors etc. Once the officer has seen all the work considered necessary, he will determine if it complies with the Building Regulations and if so, a Regularisation Certificate will be issued. If it does not however you will be notified in writing of any defects and a Regularisation Certificate will not be issued until they are put right. Please note that if you decide at this stage not to correct the defects, no enforcement action will be taken by the Borough Council but the charge you have paid will not be refunded.
We strongly advise you not to place yourself in a position where a regularisation certificate is your only option as:
- The charges for Regularisation Certificates are considerably higher than those for applications made at the right time.
- You will almost certainly have to "open up" works, which is expensive, inconvenient and causes damage to decoration.
- Even where the work is found to comply with the Building Regulations (which is rare) it takes two to three weeks to obtain a Regularisation Certificate. Where problems are found it can take considerably longer.
- It is always more expensive to fix problems after the event than to avoid them in the first place.
The initial notice
In the past you could only obtain Building Regulations consent for works carried out in the Rushcliffe Area from the Borough Council. Now however there are other organisations, called Approved Inspectors, to whom you can apply instead. If you decide to use an Approved Inspector instead of the Borough Council to provide your Building Control service, then you must serve an Initial Notice on the Borough Council which informs us of your decision. You then deal exclusively with the Approved Inspector, who assumes full responsibility for ensuring that any work you carry out complies with the Building Regulations.
You have a right to chose who provides the Building Control Service for any work you carry out, and the Borough Council will respect any decision you make. We hope however that you will choose to use our own Building Control Service because:
- It is unlikely that any Approved Inspector can match our knowledge of local building conditions.
- Our officers are locally based, and are easily contacted for help or guidance.
- We can visit your site on the same day you make the request.
- We operate to a clearly defined standard of service.
- Our charges are unlikely to be beaten without a corresponding reduction in the service provided.
- We value your custom and will make every effort to provide you with an excellent service.