Self-build home: Submit a building regulations application
In this stage, we attribute design activities to ‘designers’. These may be architects and engineers, a design and build contractor, or a kit house supplier. If a kit house supplier is only supplying the house itself, additional design consultants may be required.
The building regulations set out statutory requirements for specific aspects of building design and construction as well as notification procedures that must be followed when starting, carrying out, and completing building work. Failure to comply with the building regulations can result in a fine and/or an enforcement notice requiring rectification of the works. See building regulations for more information.
A series of ‘approved documents’ provide general guidance about how to comply with the building regulations. These cover issues such as; fire, power, accessibility, ventilation and so on. See approved documents for more information.
Building regulations approvals can be sought either from the building control department of the local authority or from an approved inspector. In either case, a fee will be payable, relative to the type of building and the construction cost.
The designer should co-ordinate consultations with the local authority or approved inspector during the design process to confirm that proposals are likely to be acceptable and to establish the exact submission requirements.
On very small projects, or when changes are made to an existing building, approval may be sought by giving a 'building notice'. In this case, a building inspector will approve the works as they are carried out by a process of inspection. However, generally, a ‘full plans’ application will be made, in which plans, specifications and calculations are submitted for approval before construction begins. Full plans approvals are also subject to inspection during the course of the works, typically during the construction of foundations, damp proof courses and drains and perhaps at other key stages, but the risk that problems will be found is much lower than it is with the building notice route.
A full plans approval notice is valid for three years from the date of deposit of the plans. This can be very important given the speed at which the regulations change, meaning that a building which has been approved, but not built may require re-design and further approval if the regulations are revised.
When the building is finished, it is important to ensure that a completion certificate is sought from the approving body as evidence that the completed works comply with the regulations.
NB Self-build homes may be notifiable to the Health and Safety Executive under the CDM regulations, but the client's duties under the regulations will generally fall to the contractor on a project where there is only one contractor, or the principal contractor on a project where there is more than one contractor. See CDM for self-builders and domestic clients for more information.
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