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What we do

The Building Regulations are laid down by government and designed to ensure that buildings are designed and built to be safe for those who use them. It is our role to implement the legislation on behalf of our partner councils - Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead and Tandridge.

We do this by; working with you and your architects and contractors, by checking plans and specifications for compliance and inspecting works at specific stages on site. (However, our role is not to act as a clerk of works or supervising architect).

Our building control service is separate from each council’s planning service and you should ensure you have all the necessary approvals before starting work on site.

Building regulations application options

There are two types of application to gain Building Control compliance:

Full Plans

A full set of plans is submitted to check for compliance. These plans contain additional detail compared to those you may have submitted for planning approval. We check the plans include the technical information to help your contractor on site. A Full Plans application is usually submitted on behalf of a homeowner by an agent/architect. We will check their plans for building regulations compliance and liaise with them to ensure any amendments required are adopted.

We aim to check the plans within 10 working days and if amendments are required we will advise your agent, who should then amend their design or provide additional detail. Once we are satisfied that the plans comply, we will issue our decision notice which will be either an Approval or Conditional Approval.

On the rare occasions the plans do not comply, we will issue a Rejection notice. However, if a Rejection notice is issued, plans can be resubmitted under the same application, at no further cost, provided the overall design does not altered. This process can take up to 8 weeks but will be completed as soon as all plans are deemed compliant.

When we issue our decision notices, we provide an inspection schedule and once work starts, you or your builder should contact us to arrange an inspection. Inspections take place throughout the project to ensure that your builder is following the design laid down on the plans.

Building Notice

This type of application does not include a plan check (even if you submit plans with your notice), instead, all checks for building regulations compliance will take place on site. You should choose this route if you are happy that you or your builder are competent to work without plans. As plans are not required it is normally used when the project is about to start or because the work is not considered complex. Although we will not require detailed plans, some types of work, such as the removal of internal walls, will require a structural engineer’s design and this should be submitted for us to check for compliance. Building Notices can be submitted 48 hours before work starts, however you are strongly advised to deposit your application earlier so that we can check the structural engineer’s design if necessary. We will provide you with a Building Notice Acknowledgement and this will include an inspection schedule.

Which route you choose will depend on discussions between you and your agent/contractor. If you are engaging someone to provide you with detailed plans (these are usually required for planning approval) we would recommend you use the Full Plans route and have plans drawn for a building regulations application too. But, for small or basic projects a Building Notice can be appropriate. There are some exceptions when a Building Notice cannot be used, these are if:

  • the work involves building within three metres of a public sewer
  • if the project is a new dwelling in a private road  
  • if the work relates to a commercial building.

Our fees are based on the complexity of the project and have been calculated to recover the costs for us to deliver our service and are inclusive of VAT. The overall cost is the same, regardless of which route you choose. But the payment timing is slightly different. If you choose to submit a Full Plans application, the Plan Check fee is payable when the application is submitted (approximately 30% of the fees). Once work starts, we will invoice you for the remaining balance and we ask that the invoice is settled immediately. Building Notice fees are payable in full when the application is submitted.

When you are ready to start work it important to make sure you have all the information your contractor will need. If you are using the Full Plans route, you should ensure that your agent/architect has given you copies of compliant plans together with our decision letter.

We can provide you with copies of the documents we create, but the building control plans we hold are subject to the agent’s copyright and you will need to obtain copies from them. If there are any conditions attached to our decision letter, you should check with your agent/architect on their progress and ensure your builder is aware of them.

We recommend that you agree with your contractor who is going to book inspections and make sure that you both have the contact details for your surveyor. Usually homeowners ask their builder to book inspections. If you do, make sure that they keep you updated. If you wish to clarify anything with your surveyor, please email them or they are generally contactable by phone outside of the hours 10am – 2.30pm.

Legislation states that there is no time limit once work has commenced, but we do set our fees with the expectation that works will be carried out by a competent professional and completed within three years. If you stop work on your project for a period longer than three years, when you resume, we reserve the right to charge an administrative fee. The amount payable will be the fee at the time of resumption. Our fee is currently £150 inclusive of VAT.

Your decision letter will give you guidance on our standard inspection schedule and once inspections are underway your surveyor will advise when to call for the next inspection. We are also able to offer remote inspections using smart phone technology.

All ‘controllable’ work must meet the requirements of Part P of The Building Regulations. This can be achieved by choosing one of three options below. Before work starts, you are advised to confirm with your contractor which option they have chosen. If the requirements below are not met, you will need to regularise the installation which will incur an additional charge. Installation or inspection certificates alone do not provide assurance that works comply with the regulations and will not be accepted.

  1. The installation is completed by an installer who is able to register their work to a Competent Persons Scheme and this is achieved in two stages. First, on completion of the installation, your installer will provide you with an Installation Certificate. The second stage requires the installer to register the installation with their scheme, this will generate a Certificate of Compliance which will be sent to you and an electronic notification which will be sent to us. This notification is logged on the property’s history record.
  2. The installation is inspected by a third party inspector who is qualified to certify the works following a process similar to above. The third party inspector must be appointed before works start.
  3. Some installers, whilst qualified to carry out the works, choose the Building Control team to carry out inspections instead.  If this is the case, you should contact us as this will need an additional Building Notice application and a further fee. Installations under this option will be inspected by our approved contractor.

Similar to electrical work, new or relocated boilers and wood burning stoves are subject to the competent person (installer) registering the work with their governing body. They will provide you with a compliance certificate and us with an electronic notification.

Check with your builder to ensure a final inspection has been booked with us and if possible, you should be there too. The purpose of the final inspection is to ensure that all works comply with the building regulations and to assess if there are any items outstanding which prevent us issuing a completion certificate. Common problems that arise relate to the electronic registration of competent person work for new electric, gas and boiler installations. Check with your builder that these have been notified to us as we cannot accept paper copies.

Once a satisfactory final inspection has been carried out and all competent person certificates have been issued and registered with us, providing no fees are outstanding, we will issue your completion certificate. You should keep this in a safe place with all the paperwork for the project.

Once work is complete you are required to notify us within 5 days of practical completion. If you do not contact us when work is finished, but approach us at a later date, we may be unable to issue a completion certificate.

You may also like to watch the short LABC video here, on how the building control process works.