Planning and Building Regulations

Having been through full planning and Building Regulations for the remodelling of the back of our house I am a little bemused over some things that have emerged.
Firstly, after you have planning permission the role of the planners seems to be complete. There is no inspection to confirm that whatever you have done conforms to the plans submitted.
Building Regulations is a separate department - in fact a separate business - and has no links to planning at all. They don't enforce planning, just BR.
So the planners have no idea if the plans have been followed unless someone (irate neighbour, usually) registers a complaint.
Secondly, BR do not (certainly in our case) do a final inspection to confirm that all works have been completed to BR and all gas and electrical work has been certified.
We know this because our certificate of completion turned up in the post today - without anyone coming round to check that we had done everything by the book.
Now in our case we did ensure regular inspections at key stages of the build and we did follow the plans.
However if we hadn't, then who would know?
We have planning permission and BR sign off.
Makes you wonder how much all this process is worth, really.
Cheers
Dave R
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On Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:08:20 AM UTC+1, David.WE.Roberts wrote:

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We had a long building project that took three years (much longer than plan ned for a number of reasons). The BR guys that came round spent half an hou r here and spent half that time debating whether one particular door should be a fire door. No interest in certificates etc. I think their primary con cern was fire.
The most interesting thing to me was that there were a couple of details th at the builder was worried about and they didn't even mention them.
So I think you're right.
Jonathan
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On 05/09/2013 10:08, David.WE.Roberts wrote:

Yup, unless someone complains that what you built is not what you got permission to build, they probably have no further interest.

Indeed.

Correct

Normally they do. Often you need to book a completion / final visit with your BCO. They will then "sign off" the finished works which will trigger the sending of a completion certificate. Its possible though that if they have seen what have seen what they need to see during the build, they may not require a final visit.
How much interest they take with electrics will vary quite a bit.

If you had regular inspections during the work, then that is more than adequate (in fact after the fact inspections are not really good enough because much of the stuff that BCOs are interested in will have been covered up by then)

You might have more difficulty getting your completion cert. Normally they will tell you what stages of a build they want to see early on.

It will also depend a bit on what work was being done. For lots of smaller jobs there is only limited scope to do stuff wrong enough for it to be an issue!
--
Cheers,

John.
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On Thu, 05 Sep 2013 10:44:35 +0100, John Rumm wrote:
<snip>

I think once they saw the steels in (sorry, STEELS) they were probably confident we weren't going to cut too many corners. :-)
Cheers
Dave R
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On 05/09/2013 11:03, David.WE.Roberts wrote:

Yup I get the impression there is a strong element of that as well - once the BCO gets a feel for what the attitude of the builder is, it goes a long way to how closely they feel they need to watch later.
--
Cheers,

John.
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On Thursday, 5 September 2013 10:44:35 UTC+1, John Rumm wrote:

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My experience with planning (on a chapel conversion) was no problems at all - almost a 'yes please!' attitude. I had however taken the trouble to read all the relevant documents and do things in the right way.
With building control, I had a dismal architect that spent 9 months not get ting the plans passed. I got rid of him, did the design over myself, and wi th very minor revisions had the design passed.
Had a BC inspection to look at the below-ground structural concrete, and an other inspection to look at the new timber-frame internal structure. Both v isits about 5 minutes duration. After the second visit he said "All standar d construction techniques - just call me back when it's finished".
At the final inspection whilst chatting he asked me what I did for a living , and I said a professional engineer in the electronics industry - "won't n eed to do an electrical inspection then". His only issues concerned protect ion from falling and asked for more handrails and secondary window locks.
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David.WE.Roberts wrote:

Isn't part of the problem that it might prevent a future sale if a survey or something notices something wrong?
--
AC

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On Thu, 05 Sep 2013 16:10:52 +0100, AC wrote:

A survey is almost certainly not going to identify that BR hasn't been followed because almost everything has been buried in concrete or behind plasterboard.
After a few years certificates are also not going to be asked for.
The surveyor will add caveats like "without a full electrical.." "without a full gas..." "without a full drainage..."
Much like an MOT, a certificate states that everything is fine on the date of the signing of the certificate.
After a few years almost anything could have been done to modify the original work.
Cheers
Dave R
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On 05/09/2013 16:10, AC wrote:

If there is something noticeably wrong, and it transpires that work was done without building control approval (say a loft conversion without appropriate structural work on the floor, or adequate fire protection), then yes, that will be a problem.
If on the other hand what is there looks like it was done right, and as been standing for 30 years since completion, its less likely to be an issue.
--
Cheers,

John.
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On Thu, 05 Sep 2013 16:03:28 +0100, Phil L wrote:

Deeds of the house????? So last century - deeds are no longer required. BR certificates are not usually deposited with the Land Registry.
Please note from the original post that we have a final certificate without a final inspection.

If you are selling 10 years after the work, then the certificates aren't worth much because almost anything could have been done in those 10 years.
Anyone buying should have the plumbing, wiring etc. checked anyway - they shouldn't rely on a certificate issued several years ago to outdated regulations.
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On 05/09/2013 21:45, David.WE.Roberts wrote:

Yup, I would go along with that. When I bought our current place, it had had a loft conversion done some 20 years previous - all under LABC oversight, but there was no completion cert. It was a non issue for all concerned. As to plumbing etc, I gave instructions to the surveyor to ignore plumbing, & electrics altogether, and just report on stuff that was non obvious.
--
Cheers,

John.
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On Thu, 5 Sep 2013 16:03:28 +0100 Phil L wrote :

When I sold up in 2008 the standard form had a question about electrics and I answered it honestly on the lines of "numerous alterations over the last few years; no approvals obtained" and no query was raised. Given the standard of work the purchaser would have needed to spend £££ to bring the installation down to a normal professional standard :).
For the boiler, again self-installed, I obtained a Landlord's Safety Certificate before putting the property on the market - personally I think it would be a worthwhile (unlike Part P) safety improvement to make this mandatory on all home sales. As for the EPC, the inspector said it was the first non new-build he'd looked at that got rated as C.
--
Tony Bryer, Greentram: 'Software to build on',
Melbourne, Australia www.greentram.com
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[Default] On 5 Sep 2013 09:08:20 GMT, a certain chimpanzee,
wrote:

IMHO, Planning is all about the Permission. The plans they approve are what you have permission for; if you don't build it as per the plans, you ain't got permission. W/ BC, OTOH, the plans are a means to an end; getting it to comply on site is the important bit.

Not a separate 'business', but a separate department (except where it isn't). Except that they have their legislation to deal with, and we have ours.
I know of some BC sections that do do some planning enforcement, but it's usually...

Correct.
Occasionally Building Control talk to planners (and vice versa). Sometimes when there's a complaint, planners will compare their plans w/ BC, or ask the BCO if it is (was) built as per the permission.

Normally they do a completion inspection. I know of one authority locally to me that's short of staff that doesn't, but it's usually the norm.
Sometimes if the work was virtually complete on the previous inspection (a bit of flashing or an extract fan to go in, etc.), or there's nothing that could be seen on a completion inspection (e.g., a knock-through), then I'll issue a completion cert when the owner tells me it's complete.
Gas isn't covered by the Building Regs (yet), and electrics are hopefully installed by a Part P electrician so BC can wash their hands of it, so these aren't 'inspections' as such.

I couldn't possibly comment.
--
Hugo Nebula
"If no-one on the internet wants a piece of this,
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On Thursday, September 5, 2013 10:08:20 AM UTC+1, David.WE.Roberts wrote:

Planning is a much abused area.
As said, it comes down to if someone complains - and then you CAN be in a r ight mess. Classic is ridge height or size, and the big ticket developers D O drive a coach and horses through since most neighbours do not notice or c are much. Some however in actually very nice areas will bite, first you kno w is surveyors turning up to check against your plans.
BR generally focus on Fire, Fire, Foundations, Foundations, Fire (did I men tion it?), Lintels etc. Basically they eyeball whether the build is dumb-as s or following good form - eg, insulation clips wrong so the insulation is not tight against the inner leaf or incorrect air gap from insulation to th e outer leaf. Prescott got us a bit sidetracked off his flat world.
The downside is, of course, just because BR ticked the box does NOT mean th e foundations are correct and so on. Frankly this should have had insurance backing at some point as a national scheme - put fees up £50 say.
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