On 6 April 2013 the way in which Building Control worked with builders and home owners changed.
Instead of carrying out site inspections at fixed stages, the Local Authority were given the option of providing the builder/applicant with an Inspection Service Plan before commencement of works.
This plan will identify the stages of work where Building Control perform their inspections. The number and type of inspections will depend on the scope and complexity of the works, the construction methods used and the ground conditions, as well as the builder’s experience and competence.
This, in turn, is likely to be reflected in the fee that Building Control charges.
(‘…likely to…’, because these changes are yet to be implemented by some authorities.)
These inspections are expected to include the following stages:
When you start work
Foundation excavations – to assess ground conditions, required depths, the thickness of your concrete.
Damp proof course/Damp proof membrane – this includes any brickwork below ground level, floor insulation and preparation for your ground floor.
Drains – before drains are covered over.
External wall – to ensure proper construction and placing of insulation.
Completed roof structure, before removal of scaffolding and placing of insulation.
Previously, for domestic work, Building Control would need to have been notified two days before commencement of the work and not more than five days after work had been completed, but now you must also notify building control at each stage outlined in your Inspection Service Plan in order for them to carry out site visits at those particular stages.
It is important to be aware that if the builder or owner fails to notify Building Control of the stages set out in the plan, they may not be issued a completion certificate.
The idea behind the changes is that service plans will provide flexibility to the site inspection process and allow Building Control to risk-assess builders in order to ascertain whether fewer visit could be carried out on particular jobs.
In theory this should lead to reduction in fees on jobs where Building Control play a smaller role and could potentially entice developers back from Approved Inspectors.
On the other hand more visits may be required for more complex jobs or where the builder is deemed less experienced (or even less trustworthy). Building Control are now able to charge more for these projects, hopefully leading to increased compliance of the building regulations overall.