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Building Regulations

Anyone wanting to carry out building work, which is subject to Building Regulations, is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations and (with some exceptions) to use one of the two types of Building Control Service available, i.e.:

  • the Building Control Service provided by your local authority; or
  • the Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors.

You will be charged for either service. The Building Control Service you select may offer advice before your work is started.
The primary responsibility for achieving compliance with the regulations rests with the person carrying out the building work. So if you are carrying out the work personally the responsibility will be yours. If you are employing a builder the responsibility will usually be that firm's - but you should confirm this position at the very beginning. You should also bear in mind that if you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations. So it is important to choose your builder carefully.

You may need Building Regulations approval to check the integrity of the structure or if you intend building over a drain or sewer. In cases where it is obvious that you require building regulations, you may well feel inclined to submit planning and building approval applications at the same time. However there is a fee based on the value of the work, so for complex projects it may be sensible to wait for planning consent in case the scheme needs altering and a fresh application is required. Building inspectors are practical chaps who you will find extremely cooperative and we would recommend that you consult them at an early stage. Building Regulations approval is unlikely to take more than a month and you will often be given the go ahead verbally.
The regulations say you need to apply if:

  • The internal floor area is greater than 30 square metres.

  • The glazing materials used do not meet the requirements of Part N (‘Glazing - safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning').

  • The access from the house into the conservatory or orangery is of a size that effectively makes the structure an integral part of the house. In such circumstances special requirements may apply.

  • Less than 75% of the roof area is glazed and/or less than 50% of the sides are glazed in which case the new structure would be construed as an extension (as opposed to a temporary structure).

  • Any fixed electrical installation does not meet the requirements of Part P (‘Electrical safety').

  • Any structure at first floor level and above.

  • You should not construct a conservatory where it will restrict ladder access to windows serving a room in the loft or a loft conversion, particularly if any of the windows are intended as a fire escape.

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