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What type of Building Control Application Route Should I Use For My House Extension Project?

The Building Control service has two routes of gaining approval under the Building Regulations for a house extension. One is called the full plans route and the other is called the Building Notice route.

The Full plans route is where a design is formulated by your home extension Building Design Agent through the use of full construction plans and specifications so that the checking Building Inspector can analyse the extension design and approve its design to current building standards prior to installation.

Your home extension builder then implements the works in accordance with the approved plans & to his fixed price. This is the best and most secure route for having an extension completed to budget and to a recognised minimum construction standard. Also all your tender builders are pricing on the same level playing field.

The Building Notice route was originally designed for smaller works where providing full plans to the Council would be overkill or uneconomic for the scale of works proposed (eg installing a new window within an existing wall). However, it has evolved over the years into a far less restricted works application so that whole home extension schemes can be built under a Building Notice. Many ‘Design and build’ house extension contractors work using this method of approval which can have risks for the homeowner & builder alike.

A Building Notice is simply a Council form that states that the applicant or their builder will be installing works that will meet the current building regulations and each stage of the works will be approved on site by the site visiting Building Inspector on an ad hoc basis as works proceeds.

The risk of course is that the installed works may not meet current Building Regulations as no forward design or method of constriction has been looked at or prior approved. This can lead to all sorts of abortive work and costs being established that the client or homeowner usually ends up paying for. Home extension works are very complicated in meeting standards & each extension design is unique.

Even experienced house extension designers and Architects have trouble keeping up to date with all the Building Regulations so what chance does a jobbing builder have?

If your home extension Building Designer states that he will also obtain the Building Regulations approval for your scheme Please make sure that it will be for the ‘Full Plans route’ and NOT the ‘Building Notice’ method. Any Building Designer that tells you it is the same thing is lying and you should avoid them at all costs.

 
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