Building Notices

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I think, if a CORGI fitter does a boiler change then no building notice, as he self certifies the installation. They take his word for. he doesn't need to contact them either.
In reality this is rather silly. Changing a boiler is in no way going to alter the structure of a building, as long as maker instructions were followed in flue siting.
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This is all connected with part L1 (energy saving) and part J (fuel burning appliances, in respect of safety).
jag+=2; is your informant here.
.andy
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building regs. approval is required if they replace a window.
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Quite. And of those that do, I suspect that there are a good number who don't care. That's going to be an increasing problem as the building regs seek interfere more and more inside people's houses.
I don't imagine I'm alone in the idea that building regs are fine when building an extension or making some major structural alteration, but are completely ridiculous for replacing a hot water cylinder or a window. For a start, the costs are utterly disproportionate for small jobs.
The whole system is going to be brought into disrepute, and everybody will end-up refusing to answer that sort of question during a house transaction. Then they'll be no way to distiguish between a dangerously erected roof and a window with insufficiantly ethically pure glass in it.
Infuriating.
Will
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Will Dean wrote

No you're not alone Will. The idea, it seems to me, is to maintain minimum standards for new HW cylinders and windows etc through the self-certification procedure open to CORGI and FENSA registered contractors. That way the impact on the number of Building Regs applications submitted to the LA is minimised. But I've already come across two new window installations by FENSA contractors which seriously infringe the regs, and FENSA seemed totally disinterested in doing anything about it - indeed, they didn't seem to understand the Regulations themselves! I was forced to bring in the LA, and they asked me to report the problems to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. I think unless the procedure is tightened up, the FENSA certificate at least will soon become scrap paper.
We should have some sympathy for Local Authorities - I suspect they don't appreciate these new regulations either. They're under enough pressure as it is now they face private competition (thank you Maggie). All the big juicy projects go to tender for Building Control and LA's often lose out, leaving them with all the non-paying dross jobs the private sector don't want. Now they have to raise enough in fees to pay their way, there's only one thing they can do.
Peter
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Is it really the case that building control departments have to be self-funding in their own right? Not that I think it's a particularly severe burden, as they've got a statutory right to demand the money, and the level of the fees has no particular impact in terms of negative publicity for anybody. Sounds like an easy way to make a living, really.
TBH, I would think that the increasing trivialisation of the building regs would be a boon to them - it must be an awful lot cheaper to inspect a hot water tank installation (no wellys required, check that it has a part L sticker on it and leave) than a lot of other things which are already in the same fee band. And of course, soaking DIYers is a lot safer than putting it on the council tax.
Will
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Dean wrote:

No, because Approved Inspectors can set their own fees and turn away unprofitable work. A LA has to accept every application sent to it. When I was a BCO a disproportionate amount of time went into dealing with small works where the BCO might be the only person involved who really knew about building, whilst the bigger jobs (which obviously had a whole team of professionals) needed much less. Also (though I may be wrong) LA's have to publish their scale of fees and (officially) stick to it, whilst AI's can discount for jobs they want (big uncomplicated sheds for instance)
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Will Dean wrote

Absolutely. Not sure about every council, but I was told this by the head of Building Control at my local DC 2 weeks ago.

Tony has answered this point better than I could

Possibly, but I bet the small fees for such minor work don't cover the whole cost of things like admin and archiving etc. I reckon there'll be thousands of new cylinders installed without formal permission - have you tried buying a cylinder that doesn't comply with part L?

It would not be possible, let alone fair, to charge council tax payers in general for the cost of administering the Bldg Regs. It is a legal obligation, not a choice, to charge fees to applicants (The Building (Local Authority Charges) Regulations 1998). Secondly, with other major cost increases and possible rate capping to face, LA's have great pressure on council tax increases and very strict budgets to follow.
As I said, I think we should feel some sympathy towards LA Building Control departments at present. There are many impracticalities with the current system and often too much pressure for under-staffed departments to cope with, which I'm sure the eggheads at ODPM didn't foresee, and I wouldn't mind betting we'll see them giving the system another major shake-up before too long. In my view this should include making CORGI and FENSA etc legally responsible for making good any defective or non-compliant work wrongly certified by their members.
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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 22:50:12 +0000, Peter Taylor wrote:

They'd have to get the fitters to fill in the forms first! The vast majority of replacment boilers I see don't have the log book filled in. However I'm probably seeing a skewed situation since I would probably only get called in to sort out a problem thus I see the worse end of the installations, with faults and no paperwork.
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Ed Sirett wrote

This makes a mockery of the complete system doesn't it! If I get a CORGI-registered firm to put in a new boiler for me and don't get any documentation, am I in the clear legally as far as the Building Regs go? How am I supposed to prove it to buyers and their solicitors, or to LA enforcement officers come to that?
Peter
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On Thu, 18 Dec 2003 21:21:24 -0000, a particular chimpanzee named
produced:

The Building Regulations fees have to at least cover the cost of carrying out that work. There are other functions of Building Control which are not fee-earning and are covered by the Council's general budget (dangerous structures, for instance). In recent years, with the building boom, most BC sections are net contributors to the Council's budget.

The Local Authority's Building Control section has to compete with Approved Inspectors for most commercial and new housing, so the level of fees have to remain competitive.
In terms of the amount of inspections, there can be as much work in a cowboy builder's kitchen extension as there is in a multi-million pound warehouse run by a professional building company with site agents, site engineers, project teams, etc.

BC don't generally inspect HW tanks unless as part of other work. Replacement gas central heating is covered by the self-certification for CORGI installers.
With replacement windows as an example, it costs a certain amount in admin time to register an application, the surveyor has to visit the site to check that the installation is correct (or not), and more often than not, to get into a half-hour discussion with the d-i-y-er about why such an application was necessary in the first place (which can vary from "cos it's the law" to a treatise on the Kyoto treaty, the unfair burden for reducing CO2 emissions on house builders, and whether or not the government is in league with Pilkingtons and the manufacturers of Celotex). And all for a fee of around 50.
Speak to any BCO, and the thing they would fear and hate the most would to reduce their job to a mere collector of certificates. Most want to be out on site, wellies and all (although ask me that again in the middle of a drain trench on a sleety February Monday morning and you may get a different answer).
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Hugo,
I am puzzled by this statement. I thought that as a DIYer if I replace a hot water cylinder, I am required to submit a building notice, to ensure it is certified to meet Part L of the building regulations. Your comment suggests such a stand alone replacement (where say the original has started to leak) will not be inspected by building control.
James
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my BCO more or less said this to me. He was of the opinion that the requirement for 'control' of replacement vented tanks was a big PITA.
tim

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On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 10:55:52 -0000, a particular chimpanzee named
produced:

Sorry, yes you're right. Shows you how often we get applications for replacement HW cylinders.
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wrote:

I suppose what would there be to inspect?
- Is there a building safety aspect to this part of L1 (unlike unvented cylinders? No.
- Has the punter bought a cylinder to British Standard mentioned in the L1 Approved Document? Almost certainly.
- Has pipe insulation been fitted to the first metre or so of hot water pipe coming from the cylinder? Somebody's going to inspect for that?
.andy
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Andy Hall wrote

Is this intended to save energy? The airing cupboard is now effectively outlawed, so either the tumble drier has to be used for longer to dry things out thoroughly (which makes it difficult to iron them so the iron has to be used for longer as well), or ironing is hung on radiators to air, making the CH system work harder and causing condensation. And all the time this is happening the CH system is trying to make up for the ambient heat not being contributed by the HW.
Fortunately, at present the Regs don't prohibit removing the insulation once the installation has been certified/approved. How much energy does it take take to manufacture, store, transport, fix, remove, transport again and dispose of the insulation at the tip?
Peter
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There is nothing I've noticed preventing the installation of a properly controlled radiator in your airing cupboard.
Christian.
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On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 12:57:03 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

True, although since one typically wants to be able to air clothes all year round, it would seem more sensible to use heat that is released from the hot water system pipework to do it.
.andy
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Christian McArdle wrote

And what is the point of that? Plumbed into the CH system it would mean having to switch on the heating for the whole house (and turn up the stat in warm weather) just to air the linen. Plumbed into the HW system what difference would a "properly controlled" rad make over using uninsulated HW pipes - probably less than the amount of gas used to solder the connections. Most of the pipes only get hot when the primary is working or when hot water is drawn off.
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The radiator could indeed take the form of suitably balanced exposed pipework off the unzoned primary circuit (if the zone valves are in the cupboard). Whack a TRV on it, and it should comply with the regs. It will be more effective when required, but you can easily turn it off when you aren't doing any airing. The use of uninsulated cylinders and pipework in an airing cupboard can waste hundreds of watts, even when you aren't using the energy to do anything useful. Control is the key. Heat what you need to, but no more.
A suitable "radiator", TRV and valves could be got together for about twenty quid. You've probably got the bits lying around in a box somewhere. It will provide a more energy efficient AND more effective solution.
ROI is unlikely to be good enough to do it only for energy efficiency, though.
Christian.
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