Building Regulations: How do they apply to a home renovation project?
We’ve been following Karen and Anthony’s home renovation project from the inception and we’re continuing to track the family’s journey through the process of buying, renovating and extending their new home.
Along the way we’ll be offering further insights to show what it’s really like to take on a home renovation project, dispelling the mystery and revealing the reality.
Previously Karen and Anthony’s application had been submitted and successfully gained approved with very straightforward planning conditions. The family were elated to learn that one of the first big obstacles had been achieved. However, they knew there was still much to do, to realise a complete building for their family.
The next step - Technical Design for Building Control Approval
Now that we had Planning Permission the next step in the process was to move onto to Stage 4 of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 which is Technical Design. During this stage we prepared the required technical drawings to submit to the local Building Control department for approval.
In the short video below Carl Croft, Managing Director of Croft Architecture explains more about the Building Regulation and how to get approval. You can watch more useful short videos on our You Tube channel here.
What is Building Control Approval?
Building Control is next statutory consent in the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 and it sets out the key stages of a construction project from conception to completion.
Building Control covers all the regulations relating to the technical performance of a building including sewage arrangements, drainage, ventilation, heating, thermal efficiency, right through to how you arrange the stairs and what height and depth the stairs are. Building Control is a really comprehensive set of documents.
Building Control aren’t interested in how a building appears, the planning space or the arrangement, it’s about the technical performance of a project. It is possible to have a project where you don’t need Planning Approval, but you need Building Control Approval. It’s also possible to have a situation where you don’t need Building Control, but you need Planning Approval.
Karen and Anthony’s project required both, Planning Approval and Building Control Approval.
How do I know if I need Building Control Approval?
If you are employing an architect, they will be able to advise you whether your project requires building control approval.
As we discussed above some building projects are exempt from the regulations, however generally if you are planning to carry out 'building work' as defined in regulation 3 of the building regulations, then the building must comply with the regulations.
This means that the regulations will probably apply if you want to:
- Erect a new building
- Extend or alter an existing one
- Provide services and/or fittings in a building such as washing and sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, foul water and rainwater drainage, replacement windows, and fuel burning appliances of any type.
If you are carrying out building work on a project, it must meet the relevant technical requirements in the Building Regulations. The alterations and extensions also must not make other fabric, services and fittings less compliant than they were before or even worse, more dangerous.
For example Karen and Anthon have decided to replace the single glazed arts and crafts windows with new upvc double glazing. The replacement double-glazing must not make compliance worse in relation to means of escape, air supply for combustion appliances and their flues and ventilation for health.
In summary, the following types of project amount to 'building work':
- 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
- Work affecting the thermal elements, energy status or energy performance of a building.
Before commencing any work, you should refer to seek the advice of a good RIBA chartered architect and they will be able to advise you best on how to proceed with your project.
How to get Building Control Approval
When we produced the technical drawings for this this project, Building Control required a SAP Calculation report. A SAP Calculation consists of information such as, what a building needs to keep the heat in and to make sure that the building performs in a thermally efficient way.
A SAP rating is required to produce a Predicted Energy Assessment and an On Construction Energy Performance Certificate. Building Regulations required a SAP calculation and a Predicted EPC for Karen and Anthony’s project prior to the commencement of work.
As part of the technical drawings we needed to consider the structural work required for Karen and Anthony’s renovation and extension project.
Other information required to gain approval by Building Control was the type of steel work needed to go into the building. At this point in the project we selected a good, structural engineer that was well known to us to bring onto the team. We thought it necessary to appoint a good structural engineer for the project to determine the strength and durability of the structure from their experience and expertise.
Although we thought about the structure in advance, structural engineers play a key part in projects by working with us to make sure that buildings are structurally sound. They also assist by providing specifications and calculations for the design, as well as suggesting building materials.
Subsequently this information was documented on the drawings to demonstrate the structural soundness of the design for approval by Building Control.
The Application Process
Once the relevant information was collated we could then take the next step towards obtaining Building Control Approval.
The Building Control Application itself is a two-stage process;
- We submitted the technical drawings and applications for approval. Building Control then determined the plans and the they were approved! Another milestone had been reached for Karen and Anthony.
- Following the approval of the plans Building Control then notified us of the stages when they wanted to inspect the building works and what they wanted to see as the build progressed.
Building Control wanted to see;
- The foundations
- The Oversight – This refers to the period before the concrete floor is laid. Building Control inspect to see that the damp proof course and membrane are in place with the right level of insulation.
- Walls – The construction, damp proofing, insulation, cavity wall, cavity closer outlining and windows and doors are all checked along with structural soundness.
- Roof – Inspection of the wall plates, roof timbers and insulation in roof.
- First fix – Refers to the structural work, cable runs, mechanical installations and if the holes are there for ventilation etc.
- Second fix – After plasterboard goes on they look for the switches, sockets, if the building is watertight and to a large extent complete.
- Completion – fully finished and compliant in accordance with the plans and regulations.
Everyone was pleased that Karen and Anthony’s Building Control application went through and gained approved. With another consent achieved the next step within the technical design phase was to develop the drawings for the tender process, to thereafter appoint the best contractor to undertake the project and to issue the contracts before we move forward to the construction phase.
In our next chapter of Karen and Anthony’s home renovation blog, we’ll be following their journey as the tenders go out, a contractor is selected and how we issue and manage the contract!