The first tip is to familiarise yourself with the actual regulations. From the outset of your project, you’ll be hearing Architects, Engineers, Builders and suppliers preach about the legal requirements of this regulation, or the mandatory restrictions imposed by the requirements of that. There are a lot of regulations. In fact if you stacked them on the floor they would stretch half way up your shin. You don’t need to know them all, just the ones that apply to residential construction. You don’t need to know the detail but having awareness of what regulation pertains to what sphere of activity will make it easier to keep up with the abbreviations and lingo being thrown about by your team.
Secondly, appoint the building control inspectorate directly. All too often homeowners leave it up to their Architect or Builder to do. It’s the job of building control to ensure that minimum regulatory standards are met in the construction of your extension. So the Building Control Inspector is de facto working for you, but when they are appointed by the Builder, inspectors can (somewhat slavishly) forget this important line of reporting and this can leave you out of the communication loop. You want to be in the loop. By filling out the appointment form yourself, with your name, contact details and your signature on the bottom on the cheque, you reinforce the line of reporting you expect between you and the Inspector.
Thirdly be present for the building control inspections. This may mean logging into work an hour later and donning hardhat but being on site for these meetings is important. These meeting are where (potential) issues get surfaced and you can see and hear the progress of the job for what it actually is. The inspections are like pit stops in grand prix; forcing a momentary pause in a fast-moving race in which the team can adjust the front wing or tighten the suspension to ensure car stays on track. As the homeowner you are the ultimate decision maker and should be there and informed to approve, if any such adjustments need to be actioned.
If you can implement these 3 tips, you will get the most out of building control by being present and aware of any high-level issues and be better placed to catch them before they become serious problems.
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