I have just had an extenstion completed by a local building firm - and
it now transpires that the builder never notified the Building
Inspector that the works had started - so no inspections were carried
out during the build.
The Inspector has since come out (as the builder did notify him of
completion of works) but obviously cannot inspect anything other than
the decorating (his words). The extension knocked a gable wall down
with the load supported on a steel beam (with some underpinning as
dictated by structural engineer) and also added a dormer window
The Inspector is waiting for his boss to return next Tuesday before
getting back to us as he wasn't really sure of our options.
Has anyone seen this before - and if so what was the outcome
....builder forced to expose key areas of the build to satisfy
Inspector ..or worse still...no certificate given unless a knock down
and start again ?
Many thanks in advance
Worst case is knock down at builder's expense. The outcome really depends on
how the BCO feels and how much has been done. Try and keep on good terms
with the BCO who holds all the cards.
On 17 Oct 2003 08:43:06 -0700, a particular chimpanzee named
email@example.com (Nick) randomly hit the keyboard and produced:
It's very unlikely that it will have to be pulled down & rebuilt
(unless the workmanship is poor). The BCO will need to be satisfied
that the foundations are adequate, the beams are the right size, that
there is a DPC & DPM installed, that there is sufficient insulation to
the walls, floor and roof, and that any drainage has been installed
correctly. This will almost certainly involve opening up parts of the
work, including digging a trail hole or two, removing some plaster
from around the beam, making a hole into the roof void if the loft is
not accessible, and removing some brickwork in the inner & outer leafs
to expose the cavity and the slab. With the structural works you
describe, it's likely that he'll want to pay close attention to what
has been done there.
All this of course should be done at the builder's expense, including
any rectification works. This is likely to push the contract beyond
your agreed period, so also think about invoking any penalty clauses
you have (but don't let the builder know that just yet; he may just
scoot and write the retention off as a loss).
I suspect he was, but wanted someone higher up to take the heat.
"You know, I'd rather see this on TV,
If you had a proper structural engineer involved and there are plan drawings
from the builders design team, and the building engineer, then these will
have to be submitted to the local planning authority for their approval. If
the builder has failed in this, then you will be asked to take the whole
thing down and start again if plan drawings have not been provided. The
work will classed as a suck it and see sort of job, which is not the best
way to keep building control peeps happy.
The drawings are the most important part of the situation just now, as they
will show how the work should have been done and to what standard. The
builder will be asked to expose the most important key areas, if only to
satisfy the building control people that the drawings were adhered to and
the rest of the build is all to the same standard.
Good Luck with it.
This is completely wrong.
1) planning and building control are two entirely separate things
you seem to have confused them.
2) Whilst retrospective application for planning permission
can be refused on principle, resulting in an order for the building to
be demolished, a retrospective application for a building control
certificate, without the prior submission of plans is a legally allowed
way of doing things. The worst that will happen is that the BI will
ask you to 'open up' parts that he cannot see to check that they are,
in fact, done correctly. The BI will never take the principled view
that the building is bound to be constructed incorrectly and ask for
it to be demolished just in case. I agree that they don't like this
method of approving buildings but the legislation clearly allows
builders to work this way if they wish.
But Nick has said that there are under pinnings, as well as retaining wall
removals, that have been undertaken during these works. The building
inspector will need proof of approval from his/her local authority planning
department on submitted drawings of proposal before he/she allows any
structural changes of this magnatude to take place. Lives are at stake in
these situations, and no local authority I know, would allow this type of
work to be carried out without the proper planning proposals and structural
drawings being submitted by the bulders or their agent.
It is the builders fault, so he'll have to sort it. If he gives his written
testimony that he's carried out the work to the approved methods, and then
something goes badly wrong, then he'll be sued to the highest courts in the
land by the local authority. But that could be to late for the poor family
who are now left without a property or have been badly injured because of a
colapse. Unless he can prove through proper inspections, that his work
has/is been/being carried out to locally approved methods. Which in this
case, he can't.
| But Nick has said that there are under pinnings, as well as retaining wall
| removals, that have been undertaken during these works. The building
| inspector will need proof of approval from his/her local authority
| department on submitted drawings of proposal before he/she allows any
| structural changes of this magnatude to take place.
That is building control, not planning.
| It is the builders fault, so he'll have to sort it.
Ah, but is it :-) It isn't the builder's fault the owner failed to make the
necessary applications, unless it's in the contract that the builder should
have done so.
This may be relevent in this case but your earlier answer made no
reference to it, you implied that the building would have to be
demolished simply because no plans were lodged. This is completely
The planning department has no relevence here. There may or there
may not be a planning requirement but whatever was or should have
been submitted to the planning dept does not need to contain the
I think that the amount of work done here is probably less than it
appears to be on paper. But in any case, I fail to see how
knocking down the new build can rectify the critical item which
is the replacement lintel and its support. If this has been done
inadequately, it won't become adequate because the extension
Once again, the planning department have no juristriction here
I don't believe that they have a choice. If I wish to start work
on a (planning permitted) change to my property *I* can choose
whether I submit the plans to the BCO before I start work
or request a BN after I have started. All the BCO can do is
refuse to issue me a certificate if the work is sub-standard they
cannot dictate when I do it.
The work has been done to the standards set by the surveyor.
If it is wrong then it is his problem.
But this still doesn't mean that the only solution is the removal of the
Apologise for my previous wording. Bad composition n my part. Point taken.
Ground works, as in the under pinning, needs approval before commencement,
there are no if's, but's or maybe's on that point. A good build is only
done on good foundations.
My previous wording again. :-)) It is more likely that most of the works
will have to be exposed before any certification is given on this type of
But they do on the ground works.
Retrospective permission is normally only granted on submission of plan
drawings. It doesn't prevent or dictate when the works are started, but it
does dictate when the inspection should begin. There were grounds on this
job, and as I said previously, a good build is only done on good
foundations, and most buildings inspectors see it that way to.
Again, my choice of wording in the previous reply. :-))
On Sat, 18 Oct 2003 22:26:21 +0200, a particular chimpanzee named
Not true. To commence Building Work without a valid Building
Regulations application (either Full Plans, or a Building Notice where
allowed) is an offence under Section 16 of the Building Act 1984, and
action can be taken under Section 35 (to levy a fine) or Section 36
(to pull down or otherwise alter the offending work).
The Building Regulations were changed in (IIRC) 1994 to allow the
issuing of Regularisation Certificates for work which had been
constructed illegally (the wording of this regulation makes it clear
that it is "unauthorised") . In theory, there's nothing to stop an
Authority accepting a Regularisation application, but still taking
prosecution under the Building Act.
 There was (I'm sure) unkind and unfounded speculation within our
office at the time as to whether John Selwyn Gummer (the minister who
was in charge at the time) had an illegal extension on his house.
"You know, I'd rather see this on TV,
Also, AIUI it is generally the householder that the responsibility rests
So, even if the builder takes on the job as a whole (ie coordinating
paperwork etc) then you could still be accountable. You;'d need to ensure
that the contract with the builder stated that they would file any necessary
paperwork and they they would indemnify (or compensate) you for any losses
as a result of them failing to do so.
Is this correct?
email me at
richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
The builders across the road from me were horrified on Friday when the BI
insisted on a 6 foot depth of concrete for a single storey extension. It
also has to be done in two sections with his worship inspecting the first
before digging out starts on the second stage. Apparently the house had been
underpinned to that depth in the 80s so the rest has to match. Two very
unhappy chaps. Still, the weather has been kind to them so far....
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