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
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:
Removing a load bearing wall
Replacing a boiler
Replacing several windows
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)
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
Peter Crosland email@example.com
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).
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.
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. ;)
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
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).
On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 17:16:25 -0000, "Christian McArdle"
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.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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.
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
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
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'
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.
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.
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.
email me at
richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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.
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.
"The fact that no-one on the internet wants a piece of this
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).
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