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Problems with DIY and Building Regulations? The Construction Centre Explains All

Over the last few years the UK has seen an explosion of building projects which have been completed by home owners. This has not only put a strain on the available resources within local building control and planning services but has also led to the increase of non compliance to Building Regulations.

Kenilworth, United Kingdom, April 12, 2007 --( Many people undertaking home improvement projects fail to realise they may need to apply for Building Regulations approval. Building Regulations are also notoriously complex and technical and for the majority of people completing home renovations, it can simply mean nothing more than gobbledegook.

At last however, help is on the way with proposed changes to the Building Regulations being outlined by Angela Smith (Minister responsible for Building Regulations) last week in her report; The Future of Building Control. Part of the report identifies the need to create customer orientated Building Regulations, which address the requirements for smaller projects in order to make them more accessible to the public and to encourage a higher rate of compliance.

Richard Simmons, Managing Director at The Construction Centre and an experienced property developer said “This is great news for both the building industry and the general public as it is very important for people to understand what Building Regulations are about and that they are adhered to. Making the documentation easier to understand will be a positive step forward and will help to ensure safe building practices for smaller projects such as home improvements.”

The Construction is the UK’s premier online directory for delivering results on products and people in the building industry and has answered a few key questions for home owners who are undecided about whether to apply for Building Regulations approval.

What are Building Regulations?
Building Regulations are the UK standards concerning the design and construction of buildings which ensure the health and safety of people inside and outside the building. There are also sections which address energy conservation and disabled access in and around buildings.

Do I need Building Regulations and Plannng Permission?
It is important to remember that Building Regulations and Planning Permission are are separate requirements. Planning permission relates to how a building affects the surrounding area in terms of local developments and the environment whereas Building Regulations are concerned with the design and construction of buildings.

Usually if a project requires planning permission, Building Regulations approval will also be needed. However there may be circumstances where planning permission is not required but Building Regulations would still be applicable. For example if you are moving the location of a bathroom within the home or erecting or removing a partition wall, Building Regulations compliance would be required.

If you are unsure about what is needed for your project it is always best to check with your Local Authority Planning office before commencing any work. (To find your local authority planning office visit The Construction Centre website)

How do I achieve Compliance?
Option 1
If you are employing a contractor to complete your building project then the responsibility for Building Regulations compliance lies with them, however it would be wise to confirm this with the contractor prior to work commencing. Please note that as the owner of the building you will be ultimately liable if non-compliance does occur, not the contractor.

Option 2
You can employ an installer who is registered with a particular competence scheme in the Building Regulations and they can self certify the work completed is compliant. Usually this is for the installation of specific services or fittings such as electrical works or heating systems and not general building works.

Option 3
If you are responsible for the work, you will need to contact your local authority building control department or the approved inspectors building control service to find out whether an inspection and certificate is required. You will then be required to comply with the Building Regulations for your project. Non compliance can result in fines and instructions to alter the work in order to conform.

Examples of where Building Regulations compliance would be required (planning permission may also be required for some of the below):
Building an extension or garage attached to the home
Loft Extension
Moving the position of sanitary or washing facilities
Removing or building a partition wall
Skylight installation
Solar panel installation
Cavity wall insulation
Moving the hot water cylinder
Creating new opening for windows or doors
Electrical works (can be self-certified by a contractor who is registered to a competence scheme)

For more information go to The Construction Centre websiteand click on the useful links page to access the Government Planning Portal website which has further information and the complete set of Building Regulations documentation.

Contact Information
The Construction Centre
Angela Gallacher
01926 865825

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