Building Notices

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This is quite an area of debate I feel & I want to get the groups opinion on Building Notice notification. I`m not talking about Full plans here - as they tend to be a different kettle of fish - just a simple Building Notice and Inspection.
In the past I`ve done several of these for works from removing load bearing walls to replacement windows and boilers. Generally my opinion of the people they send out to inspect have been favorable. More recently however when I had a single window replaced and a change to a load bearing wall, the council bod was clearly disinterested and didn`t even look at the window - it could of been made out of cardboard for all he cared, and I began to think what is the point of me wasting my time & money on the council if they aren`t that bothered..
A builder (reputable) I was speaking to recently mentioned that he (or his clients) only submitted notices when the works were major, as an example: MAJOR: Removing a load bearing wall Replacing a boiler Replacing several windows MINOR Moving a doorway in a load bearing wall Replacing a single window.
The minor jobs he commented weren`t even worth notifying since they would stand little chance of being noticed or found out (assuming they were done to a satisfactory standard). What I guess I`m trying to guage is there must be millions of jobs (DIY or not) that are done yearly where Building Notices have not been made either because the owner isn`t aware they must submit one or they don`t consider it important because the work is of a minor nature? There will of course be the small minority who don`t submit building notices because they know the work won`t be up to the necessary standard, but for the purposes of this debate I`m not interested in them (although the council would be!).
Steve (no I don`t work for the council)
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What you need to remember is that when you come to sell your house, as you probably will. the solicitor will ask you to certify that all building works have been done according to the book. This is because of a court case where a solicitor was held liable for NOT doing so! So now they are all covering themselves by getting clients to carry the can. If you don't get work passed by the BCO then you do it at your peril. So it depends on how lucky you feel!
Peter Crosland snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net
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Would this then be a mandatory question they ask regardless of whether the house has had any building work done or not ? Regardless of which, I expect there would be plenty of people who would answer this question 'YES' knowing (or thinking) that the work had been done to a satisfactory standard (with or without BCO approval).
Steve
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It is a standard question along the lines of "Has any building work requring Building Regs approval got the necessary paperwork to show approval?". It is pretty clear question - not one that someone could accidentally make a mistake (unless it was done prior to them buying the place). Note, even if they weren't aware it needed approval, or was done prior to them purchasing the place - then it still needs approval. Often the surveyor doing the survey may notice the work done and highlight it in the survey which will then be followed up by the solicitor to make sure its been done properly.
The questions are in the standard booklet of questions passed onto sellers when selling their property.
B
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Of course, there is a standard response of "Not Known", except for when there is paperwork.
Christian.
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Yup - but if the purchasers surveyor notices the work was done, regardless of which owner paid for the work - there is still the need for the relevant approval letters etc.
If you've lived there 10 years and its obvious (eg. windows stamped with 2003, brand new bricks etc) that work has been done and you've put Not Known there may be a problem proving you didn't know you did it. ;)
D
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The reply is sufficiently ambiguous that they would have to prove not only that you knew about the work, but that you knew it needed building regulations approval and that you knew that such approval hadn't been obtained.
If you just say that you allowed your builder (the professional) to handle it, or that you didn't really know about what needs building regulation approval when you did DIY, then it would be very hard to prove anything against you. (Except the actual failure to obtain building regulations approval, of course, but this is not likely to be as expensive as lying on the vendors information form).
Christian.
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On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 17:16:25 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

Exactly.
These forms contain all sorts of stupid questions.
We are just in the process of selling my late mother in law's house and for the most part we know that major works were not done. However, there are some questions where we genuinely don't know and have answered as such.
AFAICS it's then up to the buyer to decide whether they find that acceptable or want to check further. As long as truthful statements are made, I see no issue.
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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I asked someone in my office who moved recently what was asked of them, and the solicitor's question about Building Regs specifically only asked only about 'structural' work and underground drains IIRC, and not about anything else which might require Building Regs approval.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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I think there are a variety of editions of the 'standard' form around in use - and some solicitors ask great lists of additional questions. Some of the 'standard' forms around mention 'in the last four years' for building work, some don't.
I have a copy of a 'seller's property information form (2nd edition)' (I think produced by the Law Society, as part of it's 'Transaction' methodology), and that asks if you've done any of the following:
a. Building works (inluding loft conversions and conservatories) b. Change of use c. Sub-division d. Conversion e. Business Activities f. Window replacement [spot the afterthought - isn't this part of 'a'?]
In a subsequent section it then asks you to declare if you obtained planning/building regs permission for any of the above.
The form I'm looking at was filled in about a year ago (incorrectly, of course) by the seller of the house I'm now in. I'm pretty sure that the one I filled in for the house I sold around the same time was identical. My buyers' solicitor also produced a vast list of her own additional questions (precisly what the Transaction protocol was supposed to avoid), one of which was a very open-ended query about *any* work which had been done.
I suspect that in general what you actually get asked is, at a minimum, the stuff on the standard seller's information form, plus something related to the diligence of the buyer's solicitor.
As there are people posting on the group at the moment who seem to have managed to buy houses without even knowing who owns the road access to them, it would appear that there is a wide range of diligence exhibited by buyers' solicitors...
As to whether writing 'not known' across the 'yes/no' tick-boxes would cause a sale to collapse, I couldn't say. I'd certainly wonder what was going on when I saw it, though.
Will
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The form I filled in when selling, and the two forms I received when buying all had "Not Known" liberally splattered all over them. No-one seemed to care.
Christian.
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On Thu, 18 Dec 2003 09:22:45 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

I concur - from a sellers perspective.
My late fathers house was being sold last year and as administrator for the estate I had to sign the form. Our solicitor sent me the form already mostly filled in - the solicitor had answered pretty well all the questions with words to the effect "the person signing this form doesn't know the answer".
I last lived at the house over 25 years ago so there was no way I would know about current issues beyond what my late father might have revealed - and he didn't know either :)
Whilst I'm generally supportive of the idea of disclosure when buying/selling I feel this form is a complete waste of time - red tape beurocratic nonsense for the sheer hell of it. The old "caveat emptor" (or let the buyer beware) was fine.
PoP
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as with everything, I think it comes down to market conditions.
Could be used as pressure on the seller in a depressed market, but in the current market it's unlikely to get you anywhere except losing the house to another bidder who is willing to accept those answers.
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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Certainly the one I have here offers 'not known' as a possible answer for lots of things. But not for the 'have you done any building' ones.
Will
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I seem to recall it being a blank box to describe any building work. In any case, if there isn't a suitable box, it is possible to write what you like there instead of ticking anything. It's not like it is computer processed.
Christian.
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Yup - "Have YOU done any building work?" ... "Not known."... ;)
D
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On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 15:38:24 -0000, a particular chimpanzee named

I'm not sure what you're complaint is here. You can't infer that you can 'get away' without putting in a Building Regulations application just because the Surveyor didn't do cartwheels over your replacement window. It may have been at the end of a busy day, his cat may have just died, or it may just have been me.
When you say he didn't look at the replacement window, did he not see it at all? If the window still has the 'K-glass' sticker on and is a 24mm unit, then it's obvious that it complies. After a year & a half of looking at replacement windows, you sort of get to know what a compliant window looks like without having to look too closely.

This is very probably true. Most of the time, unauthorised work only comes to light when a house is being sold and the purchaser's solicitors are asking for copies of the completion certificates. Unless it's obvious (such as a loft conversion, or a door with new brickwork around it), then it may never emerge that a Building Regulations application was needed but not submitted.
--
Hugo Nebula
"The fact that no-one on the internet wants a piece of this
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How do you find out what does need a notice and what doesn't? I changed my boiler in Oct 2001, should I have obtained such a notice?
I think most people know that structural work requires Builing Control approval and the recent changes to replacement window rules have been publicised (though as many replacement window companies self certify this may not have had a great impact).
Thanks,
Peter
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I think only since April 2004. (And the same for window replacement). I may be wrong.
Christian.
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Of course, I meant April 2002.
Christian.
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