Building Control FAQ
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
Can you recommend a builder?
As a public body we must be impartial and regret we cannot recommend a particular contractor. However, our guidance leaflet Choosing a Builder - avoid the Cowboy contains information to help you select a reputable contractor. Whilst we cannot recommend a builder, winners of our Built in Quality Awards have shown themselves to carry out very good work and their clients spoke highly of them.
Do I get a certificate when the works have been completed?
Yes. Completion Certificates are issued for Full Plans applications on satisfactory completion of work provided that you have kept us informed of the appropriate stages of work.
Do I need approval to build an extension to my house?
Yes, but a porch or conservatory may be exempt provided they meet certain criteria. We advise you to contact us to confirm that your proposal will satisfy these.
Do I need approval to replace windows?
Yes, all replacement glazing (windows, patio doors, glazed doors) must now comply with strict thermal performance standards and other requirements.
Do I need Building Regulation approval for the following work - converting my garage to a room; a loft conversion; underpinning foundations; internal structural alterations such as removing a wall or a chimney breast; converting a house to flats or recovering a roof or replacing a flat roof with a pitched roof?
Yes to all questions. You may submit either a Full Plans Application or a Building Notice.
Do I need to notify the council about all demolition work?
You can demolish certain buildings without the need to notify the council. These include:
1 Ddemolition made under the order of the Housing Act.
2 Aan internal part of an occupied building.
3 A building of not more than 1750 cubic feet, measured externally (approx 50 cubic metres).
4 A greenhouse, conservatory, shed or prefabricated garage and certain agricultural buildings.
Does my neighbour have the right to object to my Building Regulation Application?
No, there is no requirement in the Building Regulations to consult with neighbours, although it would be courteous for you to do so.
Objections may be raised under other legislation if your proposal requires Planning Permission or if you are carrying out work to which The Party Wall Act applies.
Does the approval of plans allow me to build over the boundary onto my neighbour's property?
No. We are not responsible for establishing boundaries between properties. If you think your neighbour has built over your boundary we suggest that you discuss the matter with them. If you are unable to resolve the problem you should get legal advice from a solicitor.
How can I complain if I am unhappy with your service?
We want to provide the best possible Building Control service, but on some occasions, hopefully not many, things can go wrong and our level of service may be considered to be less than you expect. In such cases you have a right to complain.
We want to know where we are going wrong so that we can improve. We welcome any comment or complaint you may have about our service.
In the first instance, you may wish to address your complaint to the Head of Building Control Services in the Environmental Services Department, Civic Buildings, New Market Street, Wigan WN1 1RP.
If you are not happy with his reply you can write directly to the Director Designate of Environmental Services. If you are still unhappy you can refer the matter to the Chief Executive who will appoint an independent Senior Officer to investigate.
You can use our official comments and complaints procedure to e-mail your comments.
At any stage, residents of the borough can also contact their local councillor.
We hope this procedure will be able to sort out most complaints. However, in the last resort you can get in touch with the Local Government Ombudsman, who has the power to investigate unresolved complaints against local authorities. A form for contacting the Ombudsman can be obtained from any library, Wigan Town Hall or the customer services unit at Leigh Town Hall.
How do I arrange for a surveyor to inspect the building work?
You can book an inspection by telephoning 01942 488042. Inspections will generally be made the same day if booked before 10.00 am. Otherwise we will inspect on the next working day.
How do I submit a Building Regulation application?
There are two type of Building Regulation application, a Full Plans Application and a Building Notice.
How much do you charge?
The fees depend on the type of work. Please refer to our fees and charges.
If I submit a Building Notice will the Building Control Officer tell me how to carry out the work?
No, whilst we are always willing to give advice you should not expect to use the Building Control Officer as a substitute for an Architect or Designer. If you or your builder does not have a good knowledge of all relevant Building Regulations we would strongly advise that you use the Full Plans procedure rather than the Building Notice procedure.
Is the Completion Certificate the same as a guarantee or warranty?
No. The completion certificate simply confirms that, as far as we are able to ascertain, the work complies with the relevant Building Regulations. This means that inspections will have been made at appropriate times and any defects found will have been put right. The certificate is an important document as you may have problems selling your house if you do not have one.
Is there any difference in cost between a Full Plans application and a Building Notice?
No, but a Full Plans application generally involves a two stage payment, one when you submit your plans and another charge when the work starts on site. The charge for a Building Notice is the same as the total charge for a Full Plans application, but is payable when you submit the notice.
Once I have submitted an application when can I start work?
We always recommend that you only start work once your plans have been approved or the Building Notice has been formally accepted and acknowledged. You can start before plans are approved if you want to, but whatever the circumstances, you or your builder must give us two working days notice of your intention to start work.
What happens if I do work without obtaining approval?
Carrying out work without obtaining approval or work that does not comply may lead to a criminal conviction. This can lead to a fine not exceeding £5000 plus a £50 per day continuing fine following conviction. You will also be made to take down or alter the work. Both the owner and the builder have a responsibility to make sure that a Building Regulation application is made before work starts and that notification of the various stages of work is given.
When should I pay the builder?
We recommend that you contact us to check that there are no outstanding defects before you pay the builder. If all is well we will issue a completion certificate at the end of the job.
Why do I need a permit to erect a scaffold or hoarding on the highway?
You have a legal obligation to notify the council so that we can make sure that the scaffold or hoarding does not pose a danger to other users of the highway.
Why do I need to notify the council about intended demolition?
You have a legal obligation to notify the council so that we can make sure that demolition is carried out safely.