Building Control Service Standards
We are committed to providing a high quality service to all our customers. One of the ways we do this is to provide more information about the services we offer and the standard of service you can expect. This document sets out the level of service you can expect when using our service.
The primary function of the Building Control Service is the implementation of the Building Regulations. In addition, a number of both statutory and non-statutory functions are delivered, namely:
- Dealing with dangerous structures
- Administration of the Approved Inspector Regulations
- Administration/enforcement of safety at sports grounds
- Provide information as part of local land charge searches
- Fire safety advice
- Enquiries relating to historical Building Regulation applications
- Pursuit and resolution of unauthorised building works
Quality of service
We have always recognised the importance of quality and the level of service provided is based upon it. We will undertake to:
- Be helpful, courteous, prompt and efficient in all our responses
- Make the process of applying for, and obtaining a decision under the Building Regulations as straight forward as possible
- Provide the name and telephone number of the Building Control Surveyor dealing with an enquiry, application or other matter
- Treat everyone that we deal with fairly and equally
Within the scope of regulatory control of building work:
- Provide a full technical appraisal of Building Regulation applications within set performance targets
- Determine all applications within the statutory time period
- Inspect relevant work on site for compliance with the Building Regulations and associated legislation
- Given reasonable notice, carry out site inspections in line with the builders programme of works
- Carry out certain other statutory duties and responsibilities under the Building Act 1984 and associated legislation
The aim of Arun Building Control is to promote an accessible, healthy and safe built environment within the Arun district through the provision of a customer focused service that offers value for money, and is efficient, effective, and equitable.
Information and advice
The main purpose of Arun Building Control is to provide a Building Regulation service which includes advice, support, plan checking and site inspections. We exist to help you comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations the object of which is to secure the following:
- The health, safety, welfare and convenience of building users and others affected by them
- The conservation of fuel and power
- The provision of access and facilities for disabled people
With this in mind we offer pre-application advice on the larger schemes to help get your project on the right lines before you make a formal application. If you require we can also offer a "Development Team" approach, consisting of other regulatory bodies involved in the construction process, to help you bring together all those services or outside agencies that influence your project. Our objective is to provide you as our customer the best and most co-ordinated service possible and to help sort out problems before they arise.
Our prime concern is to make sure that Building Regulation approval is given quickly and preferably before building work starts. By working closely with Building Control in the early stages of your project, such as when you first apply for Planning Permission, you should be able to ensure that aspects such as fire safety and facilities for disabled people are suitably designed from the start. This will help to avoid costly re-designs and amendments to Planning permission as well as making it easier when you eventually submit your Building Regulation application.
Types of building regulation application
There are two methods of applying for Building Regulation Approval: Full plans and building notice. If you are proposing to erect or carry out building work to certain designated types of building (hotels, boarding houses, offices, shops, railway premises, factories, or a workplace subject to the Fire Precautions (Workplace Regulations 1997) you must utilise the Full Plans approach.
Full plans method
A full plans application involves the submission of fully detailed plans, specifications, calculations and other supporting details to enable Arun Building Control to check compliance with the Building Regulations. The relevant fee is payable in two stages, at plan submission stage and upon commencement of works on site. The advantages of using this method include:
- Where the plans have been approved and the work on site conforms to them, Arun Building Control cannot ask for the work to be taken down or altered
- The approved plans can be used to enable you to gain accurate prices from builders or contractors for the work
- You know what the scheme will look like upon completion
Building notice method
A Building Notice application is most suitable when small works are proposed and detailed plans are unnecessary. Whilst no formal building plans are required at submission stage, it may be necessary to submit supporting details of a particular form of construction for approval at a later stage. Please be aware that this might cause delays should work be progressing. A single one-off fee is payable on submission of the Building Notice. As no formal approval is given, good liaison between the builder and Arun Building Control is essential to make sure that work is correct. More emphasis is placed on site inspections to ensure works are in compliance with the Building Regulations. It should be noted that if work on site is not in compliance then that work may be required to be altered or removed. This method requires that the builder has a very good understanding as to what is required under the Building Regulations when carrying out building work. You can commence works 48 hours after deposit of the Building Notice. (See below about submitting the correct fee).
Dealing with your application
Once you have chosen the most appropriate type of application for your scheme it will be necessary to submit the required details and appropriate fee to Arun Building Control. If you employ an agent, correspondence will generally be with your agent or the builder directly. On receipt of your application experienced staff will check the fee submitted to ensure that the fee is appropriate to the type and cost of work you propose. You will be advised of any necessary adjustment to the fees which have to be paid within 3 working days of receipt. Please note that for the purposes of calculating the estimated cost of a scheme, to establish the level of fee required the full commercial cost also will apply to DIY projects. Once the fee is agreed and all the necessary details have been submitted with your application a formal acknowledgement will be sent detailing the allocated Building Control Team for your project and their contact details. Plans will be appraised against the Building Regulations and, where necessary, you will be notified of any amendments required usually within 3 weeks. To help us issue a decision on your application within the statutory time period, your assistance is requested in ensuring that any amendments requested are returned quickly. Upon approval of your scheme, or acceptance of your Building Notice, you will receive formal documentation along with an information pack detailing the site inspection process.
Whether you submit a Full Plans application or a Building Notice work on site will be inspected, at various stages, for compliance with the Building Regulations. It is the responsibility of the person carrying out the works to notify Arun Building Control at the following stages:
- Commencement of work
- Excavations for foundations
- Foundation concrete
- Damp proof course
- Prior to covering damp proof membrane
- Electrical installation on domestic projects
- Roof/building carcass
- Prior to covering drains
- Final completion (including a drain test)
- Additional inspections may be required from time to time to check particular aspects of construction or when requested
It may be that the inspections outlined above are not applicable to your scheme, in these circumstances an inspection plan can be agreed with your Building Control Surveyor at the commencement stage tailored to our mutual requirements. Arun Building Control operate and offer a same-day inspection service for all requests received before 10.00 am. Out of hours inspections can be made by special arrangement. If you have utilised the full plans method an invoice will be sent for the inspection fee following the first visit to your site. This fee covers all the site visits relating to your scheme.
Upon satisfactory completion of the works and where the required notifications have been received a completion certificate certifying that the works, as far as can be ascertained, comply with the Building Regulations will be issued automatically. You are advised to keep this document safe as your solicitors may require it should you sell your property.
It is particularly important that Arun Building Control is notified at the necessary stages of work, as a Completion Certificate will not be issued unless sufficient inspections have been requested and carried out.
Through mutual working Arun Building Control will endeavour to guide you through the regulatory process to ensure successful and regulatory compliant completion of your scheme. The ultimate aim is to discharge the Council's statutory duties with regard to the Building Regulations as laid down in the Building Act 1984 and to have regard to allied legislation.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate planning consents for the work which you propose. Even where planning consent is not necessary you are strongly advised to ask for confirmation of this in writing.
When an application is submitted for Building Regulation approval we aim to:
- Send an acknowledgement to you or your agent where applicable, within 3 working days of deposit
- Appraise 90% of all full plan applications, including statutory liaison and to notify you, or your agent where applicable, of any amendments that may be required within 3 weeks of deposit of the valid application
- Process all applications and issue decisions within the statutory period specified in the Building Act 1984 i.e. five weeks from deposit or two months with the agreement of the applicant, or agent where applicable
When works commence on site we will:
- Respond to all requests for a site visit on the same day where notification is received by 10.00 a.m.
- Where special arrangements are necessary, every effort will be made to accommodate your request
- Upon satisfactory completion of your scheme we will issue a completion certificate within 5 working days
Arun Building Control is here to help you comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations and associated legislation. It is important that we have your views on the level of service that you require and the level of service we achieve. In order to obtain customer views we will:
- Periodically carry out customer satisfaction surveys
- Carry out direct interviews with regular customer focus group
- Consider carefully any suggestions made through the council suggestion scheme
- Welcome feedback on the customer contract
Monitoring and review
The Building Control Service and these targets will be monitored and the service reviewed in accordance with good practice as part of the Council's Building Control Policy and Service Plan to reflect customer demand and the availability of resources.