Building control service standards
We are committed to providing a high-quality service to all our customers.
The information below sets out the level of service you can expect from us.
Our primary function of our service is to implement the Building Regulations. In addition, we deliver on several statutory and non-statutory functions, these include:
- dealing with dangerous structures
- administration of the Approved Inspector Regulations
- administration/enforcement of safety at sports grounds
- providing 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
It is important that our customers receive a quality service and we will try our very best to:
- be helpful, courteous, prompt, and efficient in all our responses
- make the process of applying for, and getting 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
When undertaking regulatory control of building work, we will:
- provide a full technical appraisal of building regulation applications within set performance targets
- determine all applications within the statutory time
- inspect relevant work on site for compliance with the building regulations and associated legislation
- with 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
Our aim is to promote an accessible, healthy and safely built environment within the Arun District, through providing a customer focused service that offers value for money, is efficient, effective, and fair.
Information and advice building control
Our purpose is to provide a building regulation service which includes advice, support, plan checking and site inspections. We help you comply with the requirements of the building regulations, to secure the following:
- health, safety, welfare and convenience of building users and others affected by them
- conservation of fuel and power
- provision of access and facilities for disabled people
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 aim is to provide you with the best and most co-ordinated service possible and to help sort out problems before they arise.
We help you to make sure that building regulation approval is given quickly and preferably before building work starts. By working closely with us 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 applications
There are two methods of applying for building regulation approval, which are: full plans and building notice.
If you are proposing to erect or carry out building work to certain designated types of buildings such as: 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 us 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 are:
- where the plans have been approved and the work on site conforms to them, we cannot ask for the work to be taken down or altered
- 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 the most suitable option, 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 communication between the builder and building control is essential to make sure that work is correct. Emphasis is placed on site inspections to ensure works follow the building regulations. It should be noted that if work on site is not in compliance, then that work may have 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.
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 us, please see our building control fees and charges. If you employ an agent, correspondence will generally be with your agent or the builder directly. On receipt of your application, we will check the fee submitted to ensure that it 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 (Do It Yourself) 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 decide on your application within the statutory time, 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 which details 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 us 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)
Please note, additional inspections may be required from time to time to check 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. We operate a short- notice inspection service and so we will visit your site on the day you require, providing you contact us by 5pm (4.45pm on Fridays) the day before. 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.
On 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 we are notified at the necessary stages of work, as a completion certificate will not be issued unless sufficient inspections have been requested and carried out.
The purpose of our enforcement is to ensure any notifiable building works comply with the building regulations and the building act. This may sound daunting, but we can be with you throughout the building regulation process, from checking your designs and plans, to inspecting your work from commencement through to your projects completion. By working together in this way, we can help you deliver a safe and compliant scheme.
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 (five weeks from deposit or two months with the agreement of the applicant, or agent where applicable)
When works commence on site we will:
- make a site visit the next working day, where notification is received by 5pm the day before (4.45pm on Fridays) the inspection is due
- 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 the same day in most instances
We are 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. To obtain customer views, we will:
- periodically carry out customer satisfaction surveys
- carry out direct interviews with regular customer focus groups
- 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 our building control policy and service plan to reflect customer demand and the availability of resources.