Irfan Akram Architecture & Design

Building Regulations

Once you have received planning permission (if necessary) from your local authority, it's time to begin preparing detail construction drawings and specifications, which is fundamentally what building regulations packages consist of. Depending on the scale of the project, these drawings can provide enough information to build your intended project. I will produce a full set of Building regulation drawings which normally include proposed plans, elevations, cross sections, construction details, full specification detailing construction methods, workmanship and quality of materials. With these set of drawings you will be able to:

  • Make a Building regulations application
  • Get accurate quotes from builders
  • Get accurate quantities from material suppliers

As with the Planning Application submission, I would normally submit the Building Regulations application for you as part of our service. I would discuss any changes/amendments (if any) with Building Control department and follow the submission through to receiving the approval notice.

In summary, Building Regulations exist to protect you as the end user of the building. I will complete this process and keep you informed of all progress so you can relax!

Building Regulations

What building works should comply with Building Regulations?

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
  • An alteration project involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings
  • The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
  • The underpinning of the foundations of a building

If you are planning to carry out such work, then it should comply with the Building Regulations.

The works themselves should meet the relevant technical requirements in the Building Regulations and they should not make other fabric, services and fittings less compliant than they previously were / or dangerous.

The Building Regulations may also apply to certain changes of use of an existing building. This is because the change of use may result in the building as a whole no longer complying with the requirements which will apply to its new type of use, and so having to be upgraded to meet additional requirements specified in the regulations for which building work may also be required

 

What is exempt from building regulations?

Building regulations exemptions include:

  • The extension of a building by the addition at ground level of a conservatory, porch, covered yard or covered way or a carport open on at least two sides
  • Where the floor area does not exceed 30mē, provided that in the case of a conservatory or porch which is wholly or partly glazed, the glazing satisfies the requirement of Building Regulation Part N Safety Glazing. An exempt conservatory must be separated from the remainder of the house by a wall, door or window.
  • A detached single storey building, having a floor area which does not exceed 30mē, which contains no sleeping accommodation and is a building at no point of which is less than one metre from the boundary of its curtilage or which is constructed substantially of non-combustible material.


These planning exemptions cover:

  • Detached garages having less than 30 square metres in floor area and constructed of non-combustible materials.
  • Detached summer house having less than 30 square metres in floor area and containing no sleeping accommodation and constructed of non-combustible materials.
  • Timber sheds are also exempt providing they are less than 30 square metres in floor area and positioned a minimum of one metre from the boundary of its curtilage.

Application Types

Full Plans Application

This application is suitable for both domestic or commercial works and includes plans, specifications, and where necessary structural calculations.

The details are checked to make sure they comply with the regulations. Once the application is checked and found to be satisfactory it will be approved. If not a letter will be sent, usually within 10 to 15 days after receipt of the application, advising what amendments and or additional information are required to enable an approval to be issued. If no response is received or the revisions submitted are not satisfactory we may have no alternative than to reject the application.

Advantages

  • A Full Plans application can be used to get an accurate quote from builders.
  • The council must check your application and make a decision within statutory time limits.
  • Your builder works from approved plans so there is less chance of work having to be corrected during construction.
  • A Full Plans application may be necessary when borrowing money from a bank or building society to pay for the building work, as they usually ask to see an approval notice before they advance any funds.
  • An approval notice is issued which can then be passed onto any future purchaser of the premises.

Disadvantages

  • There may be a delay while your surveyor or architect, for which they will charge a fee, prepares plans. However, plans may already have been prepared for the planning application, where necessary, which may just require the addition of technical details and sectional drawings.

 

Building Notice Application

Building Notice applications should only be used for work which is not complex and by people experienced in construction. They can only be used for domestic and not commercial work.

A Building Notice application must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to work commencing. The notice will be checked and if found to be satisfactory a letter will be sent acknowledging the application. Applications for extensions over public sewers cannot be accepted, as plans are required by Southern Water, who own the sewers. A Full Plans application will be required in this instance.

Advantages

  • Only a site plan needs to be prepared but sometimes detailed plans and calculations are required to support the application.
  • The time taken to process and acknowledge your application is less than a Full Plans application.

Disadvantages

  • The fees for a Building Notice application are exactly the same as a Full Plans application, but you should note that the plan and inspection fee are paid on deposit of the application. These are nonrefundable.
  • A Building Notice will make it difficult for your builder to give an accurate quote for your work.
  • A Building Notice is not acceptable or appropriate for commercial buildings or complex projects.
  • Plans are not checked for compliance with the Building Regulations and no approval notice is issued, which may lead to work having to be altered on site and could increase the cost of the scheme.

Please Note: Whether you choose to submit a Full Plans application or a Building Notice the work will be inspected as work progresses and subject to a satisfactory final inspection by Building Control a Certificate of Completion will be issued. Without this certificate it will be difficult to sell the property in the future.

 

Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act 1996.

The Party Wall Act 1996 is a law and as such if you are instigating building works to a wall shared with a neighbour, building at or near the boundary line of your property or excavating near a neighbouring building, it is your responsibility to be aware of the terms of the Party Wall Act 1996 and follow its provisions. The Party Wall Act provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in works carried out to Party Walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. Anybody who wishes to carry out work must give notice of what they plan to do in writing to their neighbours even if the works will not cross the centre line of the Party Wall. The adjacent owners can either agree to the works or disagree. Generally if it is explained to them in a clear manner they will agree, but the Act provides a framework for the resolution of disputes.


Where can I get Government information on the Party Wall Act?
From your Local Building Control Department.

How do I know if it is a Party Wall?
If your building shares the wall with your neighbours property or your buildings wall sits astride a boundary. The Act also applies to garden walls but does not include wooden fences. If you are in any doubt about the Act ask the person who is preparing the plans for your extension about the Party Wall Act. Do not ignore, it will not go away.

When am I likely to want to work on a Party Wall?

  • When you want to build an extension over a garage, especially when the dividing wall between the properties are of single brick construction.
  • When you want to do a loft conversion.
  • When you want to underpin a wall.
  • When you want to cut into a wall to take bearing for steelwork beams.
  • When you want to demolish and rebuild a Party wall.
  • When you want to put flashing over to protect walls from a higher to a lower wall.

What should I do if I want to work on the Party Wall?
You must inform the adjoining owner in writing of your intentions. If you do not inform your neighbours in the proper manner they are legally entitled to stop the work and seek legal redress. You will probably lose any resulting court action. A neighbour cannot stop you from working on a Party Wall provided you have given them proper notice and followed the terms of the Act. They can however influence how and when the work is done. If you are instigating the building works you must ensure they are done in a manner that causes the minimum inconvenience, with sufficient care to provide protection to the adjacent property and provide for compensation where any damage is caused to the neighbouring property.

Who should I Notify?
The person or persons who lives in the adjacent property. In the case of tenants or leaseholders it will be necessary to inform the landlord as well.

How do I inform the adjacent owners?
If you do not have a professional advisor the best way is to wait until you have had your plans prepared for your extension or alteration and show them your plans for what you intend to do. Explain how you do not wish to cause them any inconvenience and how you will take measures to protect their property from any damage. Leave them a copy of the plans to look at in their own time. You can then explain about how you have to give them notice under The Party Wall Act in writing and hopefully if you have already cleared up any possible snags they will readily give consent under the notice. As a helpful tip it may be a good idea to frame a response letter for them to sign with a section asking for their comments. If they are agreeable they then only have to sign the response.

How do I write the notice?
Your own name, address and the date.
The buildings address if different.
A statement that you are serving Notice of intention to work on the Party Wall under the terms and conditions of The Party Wall Act 1996.
A description of what you intend to do including a set of plans where appropriate.
The date that you intend to start.

How do I deliver the notice?
If you have talked to them in advance deliver in person and talk to them.
By post otherwise.
Where the adjacent premises are empty or the owner is not known you may serve notice addressed to "The Owner" and fix it to the front door.
The Local Authority does not need a copy of this notice or any reply, but it is essential for your own protection that you keep your own copies.

When do I serve the notice?
At least 60 days before the planned starting date.

What happens next?
Hopefully if you have handled it carefully your neighbour will give their consent in writing. In which case provided you keep them informed you can proceed with the work when you are ready.

Your neighbour may serve you with a counter notice within 14 days expressing concerns. If you receive a counter notice you must respond in writing within 14 days or a dispute is regarded to have arisen.

If after 14 days you have received no reply from your neighbour a dispute is regarded to have arisen.

At this point one would hope that you would not require any further information on the Party Wall Act.

What if I can't reach agreement?
Try to settle it with your neighbour by friendly discussion. Provide them with a copy of the Government booklet on the Party Wall Act 1996 the full 25 page copy. Ensure that they have a copy of your plans.

If this fails you are left with two alternatives; You can each jointly appoint an " agreed surveyor" to draw up an " award." The terms of the Act state that this should not be the person or company that you have used to prepare your plans.

Or alternatively if it is getting very difficult, each of you can appoint your own surveyor to draw up an award together. Provided the surveyors are competent they should be able to agree an award, but in the event of the surveyors disagreeing they will then jointly appoint a third surveyor to act as an arbiter.

All surveyors appointed under the disputes resolution procedures have a duty to act impartially and consider the interests of both parties. They are not there to argue the case for each side.

Who pays the fees?
The surveyor decide who pays the fees for drawing up an award and checking that the work has been carried out in accordance with the agreement. Usually the owner who first planned the work will pay all the costs concerned with drawing up the award.

Is the award final?
To all intents and purposes yes.

Who pays for the Building work?
When an award is made this is stated in the agreement. Generally it is the person who wishes for the building work.

The neighbour may pay for part of the cost when work to a party wall is needed because of defects or lack of repair for which the adjoining owner may be responsible.
Or where the adjoining owner requests that additional work be done.

Where agreement has not been reached the disputes resolution procedure may be used specifically to resolve questions of costs.

What happens if my neighbours will not do anything?
If a dispute has arisen and the neighbouring owner refuses to appoint a surveyor. Again ensure that he has a copy of the relevant booklets and a copy of the plans and inform him that you intend to appoint a second surveyor on his behalf within the next 14 days. If you receive no reply to this, appoint a second surveyor on his behalf to allow the procedure to go ahead.
Remember to keep copies of all correspondence.

Is there anything else I should know?
Hopefully not. More information is available from the booklet provide by the DETR whose address and telephone number are at the top of this page. The Party Act 1996 is law and should not be ignored. As the instigator of building works it is your responsibility to know what is required and that the provisions are followed.

Ignorance is no defence.

 

Reference Material
Copies of the DETR booklet on the Party Wall Act 1996 are available free of charge from:
DETR Literature,
PO Box 236,
Wetherby.
L23 7NB.
Tel: 0870-1226236
Fax: 0870-1226237

 

Structural Work

What is a Structural Engineer?

A Structural Engineer is a professional who has the sufficient credentials to give advice on structural issues and provide the necessary calculations to ensure buildings are safely built (e.g. so they do not sink, collapse, warp etc). The Engineer will be able to advise on the safe removal of walls, chimney breasts etc. They will also cover groundwork issues like foundation types and solutions for refurbishing old damaged buildings.

The Type Of Works Structural Engineers Typically Carry Out:

  • Full Building Regulations Applications
  • Load Bearing Wall Calculations
  • Site Level Surveys from Point 0
  • Building Control Reports or Sections
  • Piling / Footings Calculations
  • Material Consultations
  • Specialist Glazing Works, Glass Floors, Walls etc.
  • Party Wall Agreements


Retrospective Structural Report

If you have carried out works but not consulted a structural engineer, I can investigate your works and offer you a retrospective structural report, this is usually requested by building control to ensure the Building Regulations have been adhered to.

Structural ISTRUCTE Engineers Drawings

I work closely with a team of structural engineers who work to provide the most accurate, clear and reliable structural drawings. All Structural Works are integrated with the planning drawings we create, to offer you a one stop shop for your entire planning and building regulations process.