What We Do
District Councils, through their Building Control Departments, have a statutory duty to apply Building Regulations. These ensure the safety and health of people in and around buildings. The regulations also protect the environment by requiring buildings to be thermally efficient, reducing energy consumption and therefore the emission of pollutants which damage the atmosphere. Regulations are also in place to deal with accessibility and are effective in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. Building Regulations and Building Control, therefore, have an important role to play in helping protect people and the environment. It should be noted that for certain categories of work you will probably have to get approval from The Planning Service under the planning legislation.
In Building Control plans of proposed work are carefully assessed to ensure compliance with the Regulations and as work progresses on site it is inspected at crucial and important stages. A number of routes can be taken when making an application to Building Control.
* Full Plans route:-
- The application is submitted to your local Building Control Department including,
- Duplicate copies of plans, location map and site plan.
- Completed application form.
- Estimated cost of work (were required).
- Appropriate fee (application is invalid if no fee enclosed).
- Plans are assessed to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations.
- Site Inspections are carried out from commencement to completion to ensure that what is being built complies with what has been approved.
* Building Notice route:-
In this case detailed plans may be required - you will be requested to submit relevant details. The minumum requirement is a location map, application form and fee. This applies only to domestic applications at present e.g. erection of a house, a roofspace conversion or installation of a service. More details and information is available on the Building Notice Procedure leaflet (WG4).
* Regularisations :-
This is where a Certificate of Regularisation can be given for unauthorised works already carried out, providing that they comply with the Building Regulations that were in place at the time of the works.
Today Building Control Staff are customer orientated and offer help and guidance to industry, the professions and the public on how to comply with Building Regulations. Building Control in Northern Ireland is independent of any commercial interests. It is accountable to the councils and therefore the public. Anyone having to use the service must pay fees and the income generated means that Building Control, in that aspect of their work, is practically self sufficient.
Where plans comply, an Approval Certificate is issued and where work is satisfactorily completed a Completion Certificate is available. These are important documents in the conveyancing procedure when property is bought and sold.
* Building Control Staff :-
Councils also make use of Building Control staff in the provision of other services such as the control of dangerous buildings and structures, the fire and structural aspects of property searches and technical advice.
- More information and advice can be obtained from the Building Control website at www.buildingcontrol.org or by contacting Building Control at your local Council offices.
- The enforcement of Building Regulations relating to the construction of new buildings and the alteration, extension and change of use of existing buildings, or the provision of services and fittings (eg installing a new heating system).
- As an alternative to the Full Plans submission on domestic works a Building Notice application can be used. A Building Notice is usually used for small extensions and relatively minor alterations to a dwelling. The onus is placed on the applicant to notify the Building Control department of various stages of work as there are no approved plans under this system. It is important that the builder consults fully with this department to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations and in order that a completion Certificate can be issued.
- Offering pre-application consultation and advice to other professionals in the building industry, eg architects, agents, contractors, and to members of the general public who may be considering building work of any kind. Pre-application consultation often relates to matters pertaining to fire safety issues, access and provision for disabled persons and other major design constraints.
- Building Control staff are involved in organising training seminars on new Building Regulations and other technical matters for design consultants, builders, developers and other trades bodies.
- Building Control staff provide an information and advice service to the general public at local show events, and the self-build shows to those who may be contemplating work or have experienced problems.
- Inspection of dangerous structures that are adjoining or abutting any street or public footpath and taking appropriate action to ensure that these are made safe.
- Processing of Property Certificate enquiries by solicitors acting on behalf of purchasers or vendors of property and land.
- Building Control are involved extensively in Regularisation of previously unapproved works which may have arisen as a result of ignorance to seek approval for the works, or present problems in the conveyancing of property once such work has been identified.
- Building Control liaise with developers with regard to the naming of new roads and housing developments in the District.
- Building Control allocate postal addresses and house numbers for new private build.