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What Approvals do I need? And WHEN can I start on site? Part 2

July 3rd 2019

The Building Act 1984 [Building Regulations]

Building regulations consider many competing aspects of legislation when assessing your project for compliance. The Building Regulations Approved Documents cover the specific requirements and performance of the project in terms of Fire, Structure, Energy Efficiency and Insulation, Drainage and Waste Disposal, Electrical safety, Accessibility, Security, Ventilation, Glazing and safety, etc and are a much more detailed drawing set that produced for planning. Building Regulations drawings are produced alongside a written performance specification for approval by either a Local Authority Building Control Officer, or by an independent Approved Inspector, depending on what the project requirements are better aligned to.

The Building Regulations application is undertaken in two parts,

1. A plan check is where the building Control Officer will review the detailed drawings and specifications for the project and assess these for compliance against the Building regulations and Approved Documents, making any recommendations for further consideration or amendments of the design if necessary. The plan check process stage usually takes a period of six weeks and is often undertaken once planning has been submitted and during the time waiting for the local authority to reach a decision in order to expedite the approvals process and make it quicker to get to site.

2. Once the Plan Check has been undertaken the next stage of Building Control Approval is covered by Inspections of the Works on site where the building control officer will visit to review excavations of drainage and foundations for example, all the way through to reviewing installation of superstructure, beams and lintels, fire alarms testing etc. This inspection process is undertaken by the Building Control Officer during the construction phase of the project and is usually concluded when the building work is nearing completions and final decoration works are being undertaken for example.

CDM Regulations 2015

Legislation that deals with the Health and Safety of the project is covered under CDM regulations 2015 [Construction and Design Management], and we will explore this in more detail in another article. Briefly, under CDM 2015 Regulations the client is considered responsible for ensuring adequate measures are put in place to manage Health and Safety on the Project. We assist in discharging client duties under the regulations as Principal Designer.

Party Wall Act 1996

Party Walls and works adjacent to boundaries or nearby neighbouring buildings may be subject to the Party Wall Act and agreement needs to be provided from any affected neighbouring building owners before works begin. If a party wall dispute arises, a party wall surveyor will need to be appointed to mediate between the neighbouring parties until a resolution can be found and agreement reached, and a Party Wall Award made to reconcile the dispute.

The Bespoke Project Programme

In summary we take great care when we review your project requirements at the beginning of the process in order to provide an indication of timescales involved and agree a scope of services and fees. We always provide an indication of scope of involvement and timescales involved during our early stages of appointment, and customise these to your own bespoke requirements, and the requirements of the project for any statutory applications that may be mandatory for your construction project. We are able to advise on best practice, and endeavour to tailor outcomes to meet your specific needs.