Before buildings can be changed or even constructed in the first place, it’s essential that those involved get in touch with the relevant local authority to find out what building regulations apply to the work that’s set to be carried out.
If you’re questioning the importance of this, have a read of this article on the Bedford Borough Council website, detailing how a local resident was ordered to pay £13,772.97 after pleading guilty to breaching the regulations.
Luton Magistrates Court heard that Mohammed Saleem had failed to comply with a number of building regulations, including some critical fire safety requirements, while doing converting office space into flats.
Portfolio holder for community safety and regulatory services at the local authority councillor Colleen Atkins commented on the case, saying: “This conviction confirms the seriousness with which we take failure to comply with building regulations. Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.
“The council will continue to take action against people undertaking unauthorised work or sub-standard work in the borough which poses a risk to occupants and the public.”
The Building Regulations 2010 cover both the construction and extension of buildings but it’s worth remembering that alteration projects could also require approval as well.
For example, you should check that you need approval for the replacement of fuse boxes and connected electrics, bathroom installations that involve plumbing, changing the electrics near baths or showers, installing fixed air-conditioning systems, replacing windows and doors or adding extra radiators to heating systems.
The person carrying out the work in question could be prosecuted and fined for failing to comply with these regulations, and your local authority could make you pay for any faulty work to be repaired. Remember as well that if you don’t have approval in place, you won’t have the compliance certificates in place you need if you want to sell your house at any point.
Some projects are exempt from building regulations approval, however, such as the majority of repairs, replacements and maintenance work, like-for-like replacements of toilets, basins, baths and sinks, and new power and lighting points.
Homeowners, meanwhile, may prefer to hire a tradesperson that’s registered with a competent person scheme if their project requires approval but they’d prefer not to apply themselves.
Whatever route you go down, just remember that you will still need to meet any and all safety and energy efficiency standards even if formal approval for your project isn’t required.
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