The Building Control system exists to make sure that buildings are properly designed and constructed so as to ensure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people using them.
Building Regulations are originated by the Government Minister for Communities and Local Government and are the minimum acceptable standards for public health, safety, protecting the environment and climate change for all buildings from domestic homes to commercial projects. The current Building Regulations were introduced in 1991 and have subsequently been amended several times. The principal areas covered by the regulations are: -
If you are having construction or refurbishment work done to your commercial premises, you will have duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and may also need to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Building control generally operates as a two-stage process, referred to as the Full Plans application. The first stage (known as the plan stage) involves the applicant submitting detailed plans for approval. These plans are very carefully checked by a Building Control Officer to ensure that all necessary information is shown, and that it complies fully with the Building Regulations. Wherever possible, applicants are given the opportunity to make amendments (if required) before either an approval, conditional approval or rejection is given.
The second stage (inspection stage) starts when work commences on site after which a series of site visits are made to check that the work proceeds in accordance with the plan, and hence complies with the regulations. Completions Certificates are issued upon completion.
For more simple works an alternative, called the Building Notice application, is also available together with more specialised application types to meet specific needs.