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19 September 2014
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Building regulations

If you're planning to renovate or do some serious building work, ensure you're on top of the requirements of building and planning regulations, advises property expert, Nigel Leck.

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The regulations

Building control protects you and the general public by ensuring that buildings are safe and healthy places for people to be in. The regulations apply only in connection with a building; freestanding garden walls, fences, paths or drives aren't covered.

This department is also responsible for checking that any building work is energy-efficient. Comprehensive regulations are laid down concerning materials and methods of construction, assessment of plans and mandatory site inspections confirm that the building work you undertake conforms to current requirements.

Planning and building

Major building work will always require a plan and the services of a building surveyor, building technician or architect, all of whom should be aware of the current regulations, the required inspections and how they apply to the work you're undertaking. These regulations are updated annually and mean that any builder must conform to certain standards of construction and workmanship.

Planning regulations determine what you can build. Building regulations control how you must build it. Granting of planning permission doesn't mean you've received building control approval and vice versa.

Both of these departments are based at your local council. They're usually helpful, informative and reasonable. They're there for your protection and that of your neighbours.

Planning permission

The planning system is designed to protect the environment in the public interest, not one person's interests over another. If you build something that needs planning permission without obtaining permission first, you may be forced to put things right later, which is not only troublesome but also potentially costly. In extreme circumstances you could be required to remove unauthorised building. It's quite a logical and fairly transparent system.

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