Prior to starting work, you will need to appoint a building control inspectorate (either local authority or private practice) to carry out the building control function for you home extension. There are three different types of building control application. Let’s take a look.
Full plan application
Under a full plan application, you will submit a set of final plans to building control. A named building control inspector will scrutinise the detail of these with a fine-tooth comb, checking to see that all relevant building regulations have been adhered to on-plan satisfactorily. If they have, an approval notice will be issued and work may commence. If they have not, amendments will be suggested and the plans re-checked for compliance upon resubmission.
The principal benefit of a full plan application is that it ensures all design and construction aspects are up to standards from the get go, and this has two benefits. First, when you come invite Builders over to quote, they will have clarity on what to price; in turn giving you greater accuracy. Second, it minimises the risk of ‘extra work’ being discovered as the build unfolds.
The drawback is the length of time the Building Control Inspectorate will take to look over the plans and provide feedback, which can be up to 8 weeks according to Eden district council. This is a long time to wait, especially at the point in the process where you need to be finalising specifications in readiness for building quotes.
Building notice application
The option of a building notice application is there to provide an easy pathway for homeowners to start small and uncomplicated work swiftly and without fuss. Unlike a full plan application where Building Control will scrutinise the full plans and check to compliance to building regulations, under a building notice application plans are not pre-assessed.
The advantage of a building notice application is that allows you to start work quickly; just 48 hours after submission. Applying is very simple because you only need to fill out a simple application form accompanied by a site plan.
There is a weighty drawback to a building notice application however – the introduction of uncertainty to the process. By foregoing a pre-assessment, you rely on the expertise of your Architect and Builder to design and implement the correct building control measures…and there are a lot of regulations to they need to know. Should regulatory upgrades be required during the build, they may well cost more to implement than if they had been specified on plan from the outset.
A regularisation application is distinct from the other two types because it is only ever used retrospectively, after an extension has been completed. This type of application should be seen as an emergency lever for homeowners who have fallen fowl of the correct procedures. Regrettably there are many ill-informed homeowners out there who hastily bypass the entire design and planning process in order to get their extension built quickly and do not apply for any form of building control involvement at all.
Homeowners apply for retrospective regularisation to prove that works were undertaken adequately, upon realising they have put their home at risk of potentially dangerous workmanship, or when they cannot sell their home due to the missing building control sign off. To make matters worse, it is very likely that regularisation will involve opening up works to allow for critical aspects of the to be eyeballed.
Full plans, building notice and regularisation are the different types of building control application. On the proviso that your Architect produces a robust set of building regulation drawings alongside the structurals, then the building notice will an acceptable choice of building control application for your house extension. If the project is particularly complicated, opt for a full plan application.
If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.