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Building control [two tier system]







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Building Control

Part A


Building regulations play a vital role in construction works as they provide a solid foundation for environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy, and safe buildings. Hence, appropriate systems are vital in ensuring all crucial requirements are satisfied in construction. Globally, accidents in buildings have played a central role in implementation of regulations that seek to control quality of buildings. Wales and England have a highly competitive building control system that not only aims at promoting wellbeing and safety of users, but also enhancing business growth. Traditionally, local authorities are responsible for inspecting buildings and performing technical checks. Notably, the Building Act of 1984 grants powers to local authorities to have work that fails to comply removed/altered and enforce all building regulations. However, approved inspectors also play an essential role in ensuring quality of buildings. Building control bodies perform a wide range of tasks to ensure contractors meet expectations of all regulations. They include examining documents submitted for approval, building specifications and plans, as well as surveying construction work as it progresses. Additionally, building control surveys are also actively engaged in design stages for many projects as they provide crucial input throughout the development stages. This report explores the central building control bodies in Wales and England, approved inspectors and the local authority, in a bid to determine the most appropriate building control service for Southbank Developments.

Building Control Consent System

Building control systems aim at ensuring that buildings are constructed and designed for convenience, safety, welfare, and health of their users. They consist of organisations that help investors in the industry to comply with guidelines of building regulations by inspecting sites, examining plans, and providing support. According to Malsane et al. (2015), building regulations refer to minimum standards for alterations, construction, and design that should be met in all buildings. In Wales and England, building regulations are outlined in the Building Act of 1984. However, they are rewritten, updated, or consolidated regularly. The Buildings Regulations 2010 is the current and latest version of the Act (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016). In both regions, the requirements are outlined using 16 separate headings in the Act, which cover elements like drainage, sanitary facilities, sound isolation, means of escape and fire safety, structure, workmanship, protection from falling, and adequate materials.

The 1984 Building Act is regarded as primary legislation that guides the building control consent system in Wales and England. It grants the Secretary of State powers to implement regulations that relate to demolition, construction, design of buildings, provision of equipment, fittings, and services relating to buildings. They aim at enhancing implementation of government policy relating to furthering detection and prevention of crime, promoting sustainable development, and strengthening environmental protection. Additionally, regulations seek to enhance power and fuel conservation and securing the convenience, safety, and welfare of persons using or those that may be affected by a building. Additionally, the section outlines that the responsible parties should indicate basis of application. Relaxation of building regulations is possible for already executed work.

Section 9 of the 1984 Act’s part 4 indicates that an application for dispensation or relaxation should contain elements that may be prescribed by relevant authorities (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016). They include stating the nature of the proposed construction of building works, provision of the location of site or address of premises, and indicating requirements that should be relaxed or dispensed (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016). Based on recent changes that have been made to the section, applications should be made to local authority, which then transmits them to Secretary of State and notifies applicant of transmission except in cases where local authority has the power to provide direction.

On the other hand, the Buildings Regulations 2010, which includes several amendments to the 1984 Act, demonstrates how extensions and buildings should be constructed (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016). Current regulations cover aspects such as water efficiency measures, sanitation provisions, fire safety, building structure, and hot water safety. Different Approved Documents have been developed to support these regulations. They outline detailed guidance on compliance with provided regulations. Following the guidelines indicated in an approved document influences the presumption that there is compliance with all requirements. However, it is critical to note that compliance may not be guaranteed.

Moreover, some approved documents may require that provisions ate followed as they occur. The Approved Document 7, which guides individuals on complying with regulation seven in the Buildings Regulations, indicates that the responsibility for compliance lies with the parties that are engaged in the building work (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016). They include installers, builders, designers, and agents.

The document requires that these parties must ensure that their work resonates with all Building Regulations requirements. Additionally, owners of buildings may also be held accountable in ensuring that work adheres to the same. The document contains two major sections, workmanship and materials. Notably, it requires that building wok is executed using proper and adequate materials. Hence, they must be suitable for the purpose in which they are utilised, fixed, used, or applied in performing the roles for which they are designed, and are adequately prepared or mixed. Furthermore, for the parties to satisfy the regulation seven requirements, materials utilised must be appropriate for their expected use, and the workmanship should be such that the materials are appropriately applied or used to execute their intended use.

Analysis of Building Control Bodies

The primary role of building control bodies (BCBs) is evaluating building work to determine if it complies with the outlined regulations. Other tasks that these entities perform include inspection of work. At the same time, it progresses, issuance of plans certificates when requested, examining proposals to establish whether they comply with building regulations, providing advice on the information that needs submission as well as offering advice on the crucial building regulations (Abrahams, 2017). The main building control bodies in Wales and England are the local authority and the approved inspectors. The critical difference between approved inspectors and the local authority is that approved inspectors operate within the private sector.

Individuals or organisations aiming to construct buildings in Wales or England may choose approved inspectors or the local authority to provide them with building control services, which is defined as a two-tier system. Local authorities are capable of offering building control services for any type of building as well as all work categories. Additionally, the body engages in other vital statutory requirements that affect building designs, such as licensing. Another feature that distinguishes the local authority from approved inspectors is that the body does not engage in contractual arrangements with clients. On the other hand, approved inspectors refer to individuals or companies in the private sector that are authorised to offer building control services under the Building Act for all types of buildings and categories of work. The inspectors operate under the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI) (Abrahams, 2017). The association was established in 1996 with the aim of increasing understanding and awareness of the private sector building control services as a professional and commercial alternative to the local authority.

Local authority vs. approved inspectors

The local authority provides building control services through two major systems, the plan’s approval, and the building notice system. The building notice system is only applicable to types of buildings that do not have a fire certificate as a requirement. Under this system, on-site work can start within 48 hours following the approval of plans (Malsane et al., 2015). When using the local authority approach, one is required to deposit a building notice as well as full plans and pay the relevant charges. Ordinarily, local authorities accept or reject plans within a period of five weeks or two months if the client agrees. Work can then be started after issuing a two days’ notice.

Conversely, when using approved inspectors, the client agrees on the contract terms with the inspector. These terms include the inspector’s fee, which is negotiable. The next step involves issuing the local authority with an initial notice that is rejected or accepted within five days. Finally, the client and the inspector agree on other vital conditions such as inspection of different stages of work and commencement of the project. After the agreement, the client can start work.


Southbank Developments may opt for either approved inspectors or local authority. However, using approved inspectors is preferable since they provide greater benefits. Notably, local authority approach presents an element of risk on the individual or party executing the work since structural calculations and plans are not necessarily examined before work commences (Abrahams, 2017). Moreover, they can negotiate the fees charged when dealing with approved inspectors, unlike local council, which may enable them to save on costs. Additionally, some approved inspectors are specialised in certain areas, therefore providing additional benefits to their clients. Majorly, Southbank Developments may minimise construction period by engaging experienced approved inspectors with expertise in a particular field as they provide vital specialist advice as the project progresses.

Part B

After carrying out a full structural survey, also commonly known as a building survey on the property, a set of issues was identified, including the contravention of the building regulations. Moreover, the said survey has confirmed that the property included an unauthorised building work whereby the current owner had created a room at the property’s roof space. In addition, the survey has demonstrated the need to uncover some of the areas for further inspections following the contraventions of the Buildings Regulations Act. Notably, the procedure was aimed at helping the client to understand the legal as well as the structural issues surrounding the property so that he could make a more informed purchase decision.

Building Surveys and Due Diligence

Building surveys are crucial as they allow for a detailed examination and the inspection of the condition of a property. A full structural survey was appropriate in this context, since it was focused on the areas that were difficult to reach as well as the structural issues (Douglas, 2010). Additionally, the survey concentrated on highlighting the issues that may cause serious damage to the property in the future, documenting the current condition of the building, including the key areas of concern or failure, and establishing the potential causes of the deterioration. Given that the development of the property was completed about a year ago, the survey entails a level one condition report. Hence, it evaluates the condition of the property by highlighting the urgent defects, the potential legal issues, and any likely risks explicitly. Moreover, Douglas (2010) notes that the survey helps in the development of a due diligence report, which plays a vital role in protecting the individuals from making bad investment decisions by leasing or purchasing a property that could pose a significant risk to the users. Additionally, due diligence reports enable the clients to understand and identify the issues relating to the legislation or repair that must be put into consideration before completing a purchase or a lease transaction.

Owners Risk Allocation

Risk in project management entails the uncertain sets or circumstances or events that are likely to negatively affect the objectives of a project. Notably, such threats emanate from the element of uncertainty; however, it is also critical to implement the strategies to manage the risks to counter their adverse effects (Peckiene, Komarovska, and Ustinovicius, 2013). In the construction projects, the common risks that are likely to occur include financial difficulties, delays, errors in scheduling and cost estimation, operational problems, faulty workmanship, faulty materials, natural disasters, and inadequate specifications and plans. All of the parties involved in the construction projects may encounter these threats, including suppliers, contractors, owners, and designers. However, the said parties that play the greatest role in the completion of a project face the highest risk. Hence, the owners and the contractors face the highest risk in relation to the construction project. To ensure fairness in the risk allocation, both parties must share risks proportionately.

Notably, the contractors cater for the risks that are within their control. For the perils that are beyond the control of the contractors, the owner pays for them irrespective of whether they occur or not. These elements may include risks emanating from natural disasters. However, the project owners may transfer such risks using several mechanisms, including insurance. The risks involved in this case affect both the owner and the contractor. Particularly, the survey has indicated that the project demonstrated a significant degree of contravening the Buildings Regulations Act, thereby creating a need to uncover some parts for more inspection. In this case, these risks relate to the contractor as they entail poor workmanship and contradiction of the building regulations. On the same note, if the local authority confirms that the building regulations were not adhered to, hence leading to a low-quality work, the contractor may be required to redo the work at no extra cost, or be prosecuted for contravening the standards outlined in the Building Act.

On the other hand, the owner’s risks include potential legal charges or making alterations to the project without notifying the local authority. According to Hatt (2018), it is essential for the owner of a property to notify the council prior to making any significant alterations so that the control can ensure that the alterations meet the building requirements. However, it is also critical to note that owners have rights in regard to the project renovation and planning. Therefore, in this case, the owner applied his rights to create the additional room in the building. Based on the principle of the right of the owner, one is able to apply for the regularisation and be granted a certificate if the local authority is satisfied that the additional work meets the requirements outlined in the Building Act. However, if it is found to contravene the Act, the owner may be prosecuted or required to eliminate the additional work.

Building Control Prosecution and Enforcement

Failure to adhere to the stated building control procedures amounts to the contravention of the building regulations. In such events, the local authority possesses the duty and power to enforce regulations, and may do so using informal approaches. In case the latter is unsuccessful, the control body embarks on the formal enforcement. From the formal perspective, if a party conducting building work goes against the set building regulations, the local council may prosecute the party at the Magistrate’s court (Hatt, 2018). Notably, a contractor may be prosecuted within two years after completing the unsatisfactory wok. On the other hand, the local authority may also serve the project owner with an enforcement notice requiring him or her to either remove or alter the work that violates the building regulations (Peckiene, Komarovska, and Ustinovicius, 2013). However, the local authority cannot serve the owner with the enforcement notice once the 12-month period after completion of work expires. Additionally, the council cannot execute the enforcement outlined in Section 36 of the Building Act if the work in question meets the requirements indicated in the full plans that the council failed to reject or approved.

How Should the Client Proceed?

In this context, the current owner faces significant legal risk as he has included unauthorised works on the property by including a room within the roof. One of the steps that the client should take is notifying the local authority of the construction work that breaches the outlined building regulations. After ascertaining that there are contraventions to the regulations, the local authority primarily provides an enforcement notice that requires the owner to either alter or remove the identified work (Ellis-Jones, 2008). Notably, the owner cannot ask for an appeal to an enforcement notice since no drawings are supporting such works that could aid in making an alternative determination. However, if the owner fails to rectify the contravention, the client should consider following statutory procedures such as preparing a Contravention Notice (Ellis-Jones, 2008). In cases where the client is still not provided with a solution, he may cancel the Initial Notice and redirect the application towards the local authority. The remedial works that the property owner should implement include the removal of the room in the roof space.

However, the owner may fail to remove the authorised work and instead apply for regularisation. The process of the regularisation refers to an approach of using for the retrospective of work that presently contravenes building regulations or that which was executed without the approval of the building regulations approval. The property owners pursue regularisation to avoid prosecution for violating the building regulations. In some cases, additional construction work may be needed to ensure that a property complies with building regulations. Regularisation is only applicable to property or buildings constructed after November 22, 1985 (Ellis-Jones, 2008). It is vital to note that property owes are not obligated to submit regularisation applications, and the local council is not also obligated to accept such requests. After the submission of the application, the local council inspectors visit the site to evaluate the completed project to determine whether it complies with the provided regulations or not. Following the inspection, the applicant is notified of areas that need improvement to ensure compliance with the regulations. Some of the information that may be needed in compliance verification include copies of site investigation reports and structural calculations.

In this case, since the project was completed within the last 12 months, the owner may apply for retrospective approval (Ellis-Jones, 2008). The process involves the local authority inspecting the project and issuing a regularisation certificate if they are satisfied with the work or the improvements. Hence, if the owner applies for regularisation in this context and is successful in getting the certificate, it would indicate that he would not have to remove the room in the roof. In such a scenario, the client may negotiate with the owner regarding the room or consider alternative property, since regularisation indicates that the additional room in the room becomes approved as long as its construction matches the requirements of the building regulations.




Abrahams, G., 2017. Revealing and exploring the insider/outsider role of the building control officer in England. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 13(4), pp. 278-290.

Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016. The Building Act 1984 and the Building Regulations 2010. [Online] Available at: <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/517808/dclg-circ-0416_web.pdf> [Accessed 10 May 2020].

Douglas, J., 2010. Building surveys and reports. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Ellis-Jones, I., 2008. Retrospective approvals, consents and certificates in New South Wales. Environmental and Planning Law Journal.

Hatt, B., 2018. Building Control Journal: June–July 2018. RICS. [Online] Available at: <https://www.rics.org/uk/news-insight/publications/building-control-journal/building-control-journal-junejuly-2018> [Accessed 13 May 2020].

Malsane, S., Matthews, J., Lockley, S., Love, P.E. and Greenwood, D., 2015. Development of an object model for automated compliance checking. Automation in Construction, 49, pp. 51-58.

Peckiene, A., Komarovska, A. and Ustinovicius, L., 2013. Overview of risk allocation between construction parties. Procedia Engineering, 57, pp. 889-894.

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