Building regulations enforcement
Building regulations can be contravened by:
Not following the procedures set out for handling your building work; and/or carrying out building work which does not comply with the requirements contained in them. Building Control has a duty to enforce the Building Regulations in its area. Wherever possible, we try to do this using informal means and negotiation.
Contravention of building regulations
A Building Control surveyor will inform your builder of any contravention of the Regulations. If the work is not amended the surveyor will contact you (the owner) to make you aware of the facts.
If a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the Council can decide to take action against them in the Magistrates Court. The owner could be fined up to £5,000 for the contravention, as well as £50 for every day that the contravention continues. This action will usually be taken against the builder or main contractor.
Alternatively, or in addition, the Council can serve an Enforcement Notice on the owner requiring them to alter or remove any work which contravenes the Regulations. If the owner does not comply with the Notice, the Council then has the power to undertake the work itself and recover any costs from the owner.
Local land charges register
It is important to remember that if the Council considers your building work does not comply with the Building Regulations, the details can be entered in the local Land Charges Register. This could then come to light when you attempt to sell your property.
If you are using an Approved Inspector
Where an Approved Inspector is providing the Building Control Service, the responsibility for checking that the Building Regulations are complied with during the course of your building work will lie with that inspector.
However, Approved Inspectors do not have enforcement powers. Instead, the Regulations provide that in a situation where the inspector considers your building work does not comply with the Building Regulations, they will not issue you with a Final Certificate and in addition, they will cancel the Initial Notice by notifying the Council.
If no other Approved Inspector takes on the work from this point, the Council will automatically take on the building control service. From this point on, the Council will also have enforcement powers to require you to alter your work, if this is considered necessary.
What to do if you disagree with an enforcement notice
If you believe your work does comply with Building Regulations:
The Enforcement Notice will usually allow 28 days in which to rectify the building work. If you wish to contest the notice on the grounds that you believe your building work does comply with the Building Regulations, you have the following options:
- Advise the Council that you wish to obtain a written report from a suitably qualified person about the compliance of your work (Section 37 of the Building Act 1984), with a view to persuading the Council to withdraw the Notice. In this event the 28-day period to rectify the building work is extended to 70 days;
- Appeal against the Notice in the Magistrates' Court and demonstrate that your building work complies (Section 40 of the Building Act 1984). This option can be used as an alternative to or as well as the above. You must make your appeal within 28 days of receiving the Notice, or within 70 days if you have used Option 1 above.
You believe Building Regulations are not appropriate for the work being carried out
If you believe that your work cannot be expected to comply with one or more of the requirements in the Building Regulations because they are too onerous or inapplicable, you have the right to apply the Council for a relaxation or dispensation of the requirement(s) in question, in order that your completed building work is considered to achieve compliance.
Your application must be made within 28 days of receiving the Enforcement Notice from the Council. If the Council refuses your application, you have a right of appeal (in England) to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister against that refusal, providing you do so within one month of that decision.
Please bear in mind that if you take this course of action in response to an enforcement notice and you originally maintained that your work was in compliance with Building Regulations, your case is likely to be more difficult to justify.