Central Heating Install: Building Control system/procedures etc

Any Experience of dealing with Part L Building Regs/Building Control & how to not fall foul of the system would be welcomed
Particularly: 1. What things MUST be done by a "competent"/qualified person (eg connect up the boiler) - can I physically install it (bolt it to wall etc & connect it to the primary circuit)? NB I need a sealed CH system and new HW cyl. (Not been convinced about Combis, esp flow rate - my bath HW flows @16 litres/min. & I don't want to get into the Great Combi Debate, at least not in this thread ;-) )
2. It seems that the fee must be based on a written estimate from a plumber - which is unethical to get one round to quote when I have not the wherewithal to get them to do the job, esp as they must know that it costs 4-5k for most CH- is this just my local Council, or how they are required to operate?
Ta Jonathan
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On Tue, 8 Jul 2003 11:43:57 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Webb"
The following is my understanding. Others will contribute where I may be incorrect.

You should get a corgi registered gas fitter to install and commission the boiler. This is something you can even do yourself, however it's a job best left to a pro who will then take the responsibility if the system goes kaboom 5 minutes after being started up.
I am not aware of any restrictions on your being able to physically install everything else - you could pipe the whole system, put the boiler on the wall, connect the waterworks, etc. But the corgi guy will be responsible for ensuring that the gas installation is safe - and he's not going to take a chance on that, he'll want to inspect the work before he connects up (so don't bury things into the house fabric which he might need to get at).

I have to admit I don't understand this query. The arrangement will go something like the following:
You call a qualified corgi guy. Tell him that you are installing the CH system but you need him to commission it and provide the relevant certification.
The corgi guy will advise whether he's happy to do what you want, and at what cost. It may be that he wants to do a little more than just connect the gas supply and light up - but only he can tell you that.
You then repeat the exercise with a couple of other corgi guys to ensure you've got the best price.
Finally, you arrange the date/time to make it happen.
Andrew
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Andrew, Thanks for reply RE this bit:

EXTRACT FROM COUNCIL WEBSITE.... "Tables C1 and C2 Table C1 (PDF file 19KB) applications are based on an estimate of the cost of the work and must be accompanied by a written estimate that would be charged by a person in business to carry out such work. In effect, this means that only an estimate from a builder, or equivalent, is acceptable and rules out the DIY element. This applies to both Full Plans applications and Building Notices. " This seems a bit off to me. Also, presumably they want a schematic drawing, or just a schedule of components?
I want to start off armed with a basic understanding before I get in touch with our BC officer as his reputation precedes him.
TIA Jono

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On Tue, 8 Jul 2003 14:12:41 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Webb"

Remember that this is a broad brush policy to cover Building Notices and Full Plans applications for all sorts of purposes including building a complete house.
Depending on what you do or have done and how you go about it, you may not need to involve the building control people at all. See other post.
.andy
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wrote:

Not sure if this is the same but when i built an extension on my old house the fees were to be based on the estimated cost of the work, we had a disagreement on the cost and the building control people asked me to get an estimate from a reconised builder, i refused and did a material take off with approxamate costings and said that i would provide "all" labour free and that it was not ethical to get a builder to give an estimate when i had no intension of letting him do the work. we finally agreed on the fees which where a lot closer to my estimate than his. It is posible to barter on the fees. Rob
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Which just goes to show that the lunatics have taken over the government asylum. IMO a large reduction in BCO's activities is a requirement for the next governments election manifesto. At least if we are stupid enough to join the EU, we can move into the continental mode of having so many rules that we can ignore all of them! Regards Capitol
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New house near me are being build with the cavities blocked with cement. The problem is that BCOs don't do their jobs properly. The building should not move past a certain phase unless inspected and signed off. the system should be foolproof, as it is supposed to protect the home owner. It does not. All it does is protect the developer.
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That isn't a BCO problem. That's a site foreman quality control problem. The building trade has always had it's share of cowboys and piecework bricklaying is notorious for them. The BCO's primary job is to check that there are not so many defects in the structure that it is going to fall down or injure the occupants. The BCO's job has been changed into a tax gathering, box ticking exercise with more boxes and BCO's added every day. The buildings will still fall down, but as the boxes have been ticked it's nobody's fault. Exactly the same as Education, the NHS, the railways, MoD equipment, the list is endless, as is the certainty of even more expensive useless paperwork. Regards Capitol IMM wrote in message ...

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If it's a new house there's more than a fair chance that building control enforcement is down to the NHBC not the LA. As Capitol points outs, the BCO's job is not to ensure that the job is done right, merely to confirm that the work has been done correctly. Guys on a car production line who let standards slip on the basis that they'd fix it if the inspector noticed wouldn't last long.
There are also problems of liability: in my BCO days the builder was obliged (in theory) to give written notice at various stages of the work, but there was no staged inspection between dpc and completion. The attitude of my LA was that they would do 'statutory' inspections only partly because of limited staff and partly so as not to create further potential liabilities by choosing to make inspections voluntarily. Many of us still chose to do a roof truss before tiling inspection as that was a source of more than a few problems.
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On Wed, 9 Jul 2003 22:27:30 +0100, "Capitol"

That works until someone decides to sue you, then the lawyer pressing the claim has a wide choice of options with which to nail your arse to the wall.
Andrew
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That's why you carry liability insurance! or alternatively have you ever tried suing a bankrupt builder? Regards Capitol
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On Tue, 8 Jul 2003 11:43:57 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Webb"

There are muliple parts to this.
1) Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, 1998, there is a general requirement that gas fitting be done by "competent" person. The Statutory Instrument does not define "competent" in the general sense. However it does require that people and businesses doing gas fitting for reward are "members of a class of persons" defined by the HSE for the purpose. Separately, the HSE defines "class of persons" as meaning a requirement to be a member of CORGI and with appropriate training and certification for type of appliance.
There is nothing that specifically states that DIY gas fitting is illegal, despite what CORGI may suggest. The question mark would be what a judge might say if something were to go wrong. That is also unclear, and there does not appear to be any case law to give a precedent either way.
A typical way of working for DIY purposes has been for the boiler to be fitted to the wall, flues installed, wired and wet plumbed; and then to involve a registered fitter to connect the gas supply and commission operation including the necessary safety checks. It is also possible to get a safety check done by virtue of a Landlord's Certificate.
2) Part J and Part L of the Building Regulations. Under Part L, new boilers are required to have a SEDBUK efficiency rating of at least 78%. There is very little left on the market if anything that doesn't. Under Part J you are required to submit a Building Notice before fitting a fuel burning appliance such as a boiler. However, there is an exemption to that if you have the work done professionally by a "member of a class of persons" under the terms of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations (as above - i.e. CORGI member). The fitter can self certify the work without any requirement to contact the local authority. There are similar arrangements to CORGI if the fuel is oil or solid fuel.
3) If you want to have a pressurised hot water cylinder installed, again a Building Notice is required unless the installation is by a BBA or Institute of Plumbing trained and approved fitter. To be clear though, this requirement only applies where the volume of pressurised and heated water exceeds 45 litres. This means where the bulk DHW cylinder contents are fed from the mains water. If you just want to have the heating circuit sealed, the water volume of the expansion vessel(s) (unless you have a mansion) will be no more than 10-20 litres. If you have this, and the contents of the DHW cylinder are fed from a roof tank and open vented, then the rule here doesn't apply. It doesn't apply either if you have an open vented thermal store or heat bank, where the bulk of the water in the cylinder is part of the primary circuit and all of that is open vented, with the DHW bening heated via a coil inside the cylinder or heat exchanger outside.

I don't know where this comes from. If the local authority told you then it sounds like the bureaucrats are making up the rules as they go along. I presume this is the scale of fees involved if a building notice is required and is linked to the value of the work.
However, you can see in this case that the intent is that for most people who have heating work done professionally there would not be a need for a building notice anyway. It's a typical story of introducing legislation for the purposes of being able to claim great things with regard to energy conservation for the next Kyoto summit while having the public pick up the tab.
Did I hear the words "stealth tax"?

.andy
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Andy, Thanks - some real meat there-just what I was after. Any WWW or hard copy resources you could mention?
Yup, our local BC people zealously apply themselves to making peoples lives difficult (& costly)as well as applying the regs to the letter rather than the spirit.
My paragraph about the fee comes from here (FYI http://www.wealden.gov.uk/planning/building_fees.htm). One of the things I'm trying to work out is if I need to contact them at all. No point in adding to their workload. But if I must, then I must.
As a bit of a treehugger, I have no problem in increased energy efficiency, but dickheads making & enforcing policy like this, is not the way to go about it. What happened to grants for condensing boilers?
Did I hear the words "stealth tax"? Probably drowned out in by the flatulence coming from our Tone.

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On Tue, 8 Jul 2003 19:05:26 +0000 (UTC), "Jonathan Webb"

That can cut both ways of course. If they want to play by the letter of the law then it gives you the possibility to do the same thing.

If you compare with equivalent pages of other local authorities it refers to the Building (Local Authority Charges) Regulations and you will see similar tables.
The comment on your LA's reference in para. 8 does point out that the charges are based on a written estimate from someone in business to do such work.
However to add the remark "In effect, this means that only an estimate from a builder, or equivalent, is acceptable and rules out the DIY element." ; I think is unneccessary and exceeding their remit. I would write to my councillor about it, but that's me.

As far as I can see, there would be nothing to stop you from going to an appropriate contractor or contractors and asking them for a labour only quote for example for installing a boiler and say a hot water cylinder. This should come out at under 1000 which is the minimum band for a building notice charge.
Note that the paragraph on your LA's web site (and I think you'll find the same in the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations) talks about the cost of the work. It doesn't stipulate that that has to include the materials from what I can find.
http://www.safety.odpm.gov.uk/bregs/index.htm
has a lot of information.
The other approach is to not do anything and then to apply for regularisation when you come to sell the house. Personally I wouldn't do this unless the self certification game with building regulations goes further - e.g. with electrical installation etc. However it's interesting to note that the fee is the standard one plus 20% but no VAT, therefore not much different.

The dickheads are certainly making the policies, basically because they are of a mind that increased regulation is a Good Thing.
The doubly unacceptable aspect is that the costs of legislation are being passed directly on to those who didn't want or need it in the first place.
I completely agree with you regarding energy efficiency and other aspects surrounding this. I would rather put my money into buying a better product or more insulation than paying somebody to come and check up that I've done the minimum.

That was last year's spin marketing budget.

.andy
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From the chaotic regions of the Cryptosphere, Andy Hall

What (I think) that means is that even if the work is being carried out as DIY, then a suitable amount for labour needs to be added in equivalent to a professional's hourly rate.
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My understanding is that fitting hot water cylinder requires either building regulations approval, or employing "an approved person".
James
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On Tue, 8 Jul 2003 21:28:49 +0100, "James"

That's what I said. A BBA or IOP approved fitter is an "approved person" for pressurised cylinders.
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I missed a word out. I meant to say
My understanding is that fitting **any** hot water cylinder requires either building regulations approval, or employing "an approved person

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Andy Hall wrote:

To this end you will now find that even vented cylinders have commission label on them requesting the details of the installation and the signature of a 'competant person'.
I've done a couple of cylinders so far this year but each time the labels ended up around the back.
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter. The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk Gas fitting FAQ http://www.makewrite.demon.co.uk/GasFitting.html Sealed CH FAQ http://www.makewrite.demon.co.uk/SealedCH.html
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