Building Control is unusual in being a regulatory function that can currently be undertaken by private sector companies (Approved Inspectors) as well as Local Authorities. This means that you can select a public or private sector service provider to oversee building regulations compliance on your project.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for that choice to be made or influenced by builders who may have different ideas to an owner on what constitutes ‘good’ service.
We would suggest you find out what level of service you can expect from the service provider for the fees that you will be paying. Ask about the experience and qualifications of their surveyors and how many site inspections will be carried out to check that the work in progress is to a good standard. Can they guarantee to make a same-day inspection when notified by 9.30am?
For anything but minor work we would suggest your provider carries out a detailed assessment of the design drawings and gives written confirmation that they are compliant; something that is standard procedure with a full plans application submitted to a Local Authority. This gives reassurance that you are building to approved plans and reasonable standards of workmanship and you shouldn’t get any nasty surprises about compliance as the work progresses.
Local Authorities do not work under the same commercial pressures that influence Approved Inspectors. Local Authority Building Control’s remit above all else is to ensure that the interests of the customer are protected and we are a not for profit organisation.