What is Building Regulations Approval?
Building regulations approval is different from planning permission and covers the extension and construction of buildings. Any time you construct or change anything on your property, it’s important to check whether you need it.
While planning permission determines whether you can go ahead with a project or not, building regulations ensure that the plan and completed project meet certain safety requirements. Because of how important building regulations are, many people choose to hire a company or contractor registered with the Competent Person scheme to ensure the project meets the standards required – there are many specifications and limitations that must be adhered to.
For the project to be “signed off”, an improved inspector or member of the local authority (LABC) service will visit the property both during and upon completion to check over the conversion. If successful, a certificate and accompanying documentation will then be provided to the homeowner.
When Do I Need Building Regulations Approval for a Loft Conversion?
Unless your loft has already been converted and you are simply altering the interior, you will need building regulations approval. As mentioned above, building regulations approval is required for every conversion or extension performed on a property and a loft conversion is no different.
There are two main types of building regulations approval to consider. The most common and extensive option is ‘Full Plans Approval’. To achieve this, an architect will create a technical design package that illustrates the plans for the conversion and the materials that will be used. Written specifications will also be included with this application that include electrical and mechanical layouts, thermal efficiency targets, and structural information. This option enables approval to be given prior to work beginning and so offers homeowners peace of mind. A buildings inspector will also visit while the project is in progress to ensure that the plan is being completed correctly.
The second option is called a ‘Building Notice’. This is not recommended for loft conversions, as it is only really suitable for small works performed by a competent builder. With this option, no plans are submitted prior to the work beginning, and the builder will assume all responsibility for any problems. An inspector should still visit the property while the work is in process, but if any problems are found, the homeowner may be required to pay for remedial work. This can end up costing more than it would have if ‘Full Plans Approval’ had been granted to begin with.
Finally, if you have already had the work carried out and failed to seek approval beforehand, you can apply for retrospective approval through a local BCB authority. This is the least preferred option as you may be met with a fine or be required to make alterations to gain approval.
How to Apply for Building Regulations Approval
The easiest way to obtain building regulations approval is to work with a company like Simply Easy Refurbs. Our architects can draw up the plans for your conversion, and ensure you obtain ‘Full Plans Approval’ before work begins. You can contact us via phone or email for a no-obligation chat, and we will be happy to discuss the loft conversion and planning process with you in more detail.
If you would prefer to apply for building regulations alone, you can do this through your local council. More information about the process can be found on the gov.uk website.