Last edited 18 Dec 2020

What notifications do you need to give when construction works are complete


[edit] Introduction

Construction works can be complex, affecting a large number of people, and having significant health and safety and other implications. As a result, a number of approvals may be required before construction works begin, notices may have to be given of certain activities as construction proceeds, and further notices may have to be given when the works are complete.

Generally, the number of approvals and notices required will increase with the size, complexity and sensitivity of the proposed works.

Completion of the works is generally signified by certification of ‘practical completion’. It is referred to as practical completion rather than simply 'completion' as there may still be defects that emerge that require the contractor to carry out additional works, and so, even though the client may occupy the building, the contract has not been completed. However, there is no absolute definition of practical completion, and case law is very complex. See practical completion for more information.

More practically, the purpose of many notices is to ensure that requirements have been met before the building is occupied, and so completion may be signified by the works being ready to occupy.

[edit] Planning permission.

Planning permission is the granting of permission to proceed with a proposed development. Responsibility for granting permission generally lies with local planning authorities (usually the planning department of the district or borough council).

Applicants are required to inform the local planning authority when construction works are complete, and in some circumstances the permission may include planning conditions or planning obligations that must be satisfied or discharged before the development is occupied.

No completion certificate is issued by the planning authority.

[edit] Building regulations

Construction works may also need building regulations approval. The building regulations set out requirements for specific aspects of building design and construction. Building regulations approvals can be sought either from the building control department of the local authority or from an approved inspector. Generally on larger, new-build projects, a 'full plans' application will be made, meaning that full details of the proposed building works are submitted for approval before the works begin. On small projects, 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.

A separate notice will generally be required by the building control body, telling them when construction works have been completed.

In addition, within 5 days of the completion of the construction, a report must be issued to the building control body setting out the Target Emission Rate (TER), and Building Emission Rate (BER) or Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) of the completed building, along with any changes that have been made to the specification, and an energy performance certificate (EPC). This require that an air-permeability test is carried out to ensure the building envelope has been constructed to a suitably high level of workmanship so that air (and with it, heat) will not ‘leak’ through the building fabric.

For more information see: Target Emission Rate.

In addition, the building control body is likely to require a commissioning notice confirming that:

  • A commissioning plan has been followed so that every system has been inspected and commissioned in an appropriate sequence and to a reasonable standard.
  • The results of tests confirm that the performance is reasonably in accordance with the actual building design, including written explanations where there are differences.

For more information see: Notice of commissioning.

A completion certificate will be issued by the building control body (or a 'final certificate' if the building control body is an approved inspector), providing formal evidence that the building works have been approved and that, in so far as it is reasonable to determine, the works have been carried out in accordance with the building regulations

Where minor works are carried out to a property, a certificate may be issued by a trades person under the competent persons schemes.

For more information see: Building regulations completion certificate.

[edit] Health and Safety

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project’s development so that the risk of harm to those who have to build, use and maintain structures is reduced.

No notice of completion is required, however, the regulations do require that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is notified if construction work is likely to last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point, or exceed 500 person days. Whilst it does not include a completion date, the F10 - Notification of construction project, includes a start date and planned duration.

Note, CDM requirements may be re-triggered after this by works undertaken to rectify defects.

[edit] Other notices

Other notices might be required in relation to:

It can also be wise to inform other interested bodies, particularly on large projects:

A range of documentation may need to be issued to the client:

See Handover to client for more information.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

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