When new buildings, extensions or alterations are being considered, most people automatically assume that they will need to apply for planning permission and whilst this is often true, there is usually much confusion in the public's mind between planning and building control.
Whether or not planning permission is required, the work will, in most cases, have to satisfy National Building Regulations and it is this function that is termed 'building control'.
What is building control?
Whilst planning relates to the design of the building work, building control is mainly concerned with the administration of the Building Regulations (which are national technical standards produced by Communities and Local Government) that control such matters as:
- structural stability
- means of escape in case of fire
- structural fire precautions
- resistance to moisture
- sound and thermal insulation
- access for disabled persons
This form of control ensures that buildings will be safe and will not pose a health risk to the occupants. It also ensures that buildings will be thermally efficient and accessible to people with disabilities.
Control is exercised principally in two ways:
- by the submission of plans to the local authority; and
- by the inspection of work on site (although an increasing number of projects are now dealt with under a simplified procedure called a Building Notice whereby control is wholly exercised on site.)
In addition to dealing with Building Regulations, we also undertake a range of other duties, such as control of dangerous structures and demolition.