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Building control FAQ


What are the Building regulations?
What is classed as building work?
How do I make an application?
How do I choose which form of application to make?
How much will it cost?
At what times do the Local Authority need to inspect the work?

What are the Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are prepared by government under provisions set out in the Building Act 1984 and are primarily devised to protect the Health and Safety of people in and around buildings, provide accessible buildings and facilities, and reduce energy consumption. They apply to new buildings, and extensions and alterations to existing buildings.

There are regulations covering the following areas:

  • Structure
  • Fire Safety
  • Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture
  • Toxic Substances
  • Resistance to the Passage of Sound
  • Ventilation
  • Hygiene
  • Drainage and Waste Disposal
  • Heat Producing Appliances
  • Stairways, Ramps and Guards
  • Conservation of Fuel and Power
  • Access to and Use of Buildings
  • Glazing Materials
  • Fixed electrical installations in dwelling and associated places

What is building work?

Building Regulations apply to certain types of building work. These are described below, guidance on this can also be found at the following links.

The Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet provides an introduction to the Building Regulations in England and Wales only and is intended for anyone proposing to carry out building projects. It is not a statement of the law but is intended to help you to understand the system.

Interactive Guide

This simple visual guide outlines what kinds of household development can take place around your home.

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • The provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting in or in connection with a building
  • The material alteration of a building, or a controlled service or fitting
  • The alteration to or replacement of a thermal element, wall, roof or floor
  • Work required by regulation 6 (requirements relating to material change of use)
  • The installation of replacement windows and external doors in a dwelling
  • The insertion of insulating material into the cavity wall of a building
  • Work involving the underpinning of a building
  • From 1 January 2005 all electrical work in dwellings needs to comply with the Part ‘P’ requirements of the regulations and be carried out by persons who are competent to do the work. This will mean certain electrical installations must be inspected and tested by the council unless the electrical contractor employed has membership of an accredited inspection and testing organisation and can supply the necessary certification via a "Competent Person" body

If you intend to carry out building work, alterations, or major change of use, it is likely that you will need to apply for Building Regulation approval before you actually commence the work on site.

How do I make an application?

There are two ways in which you can make a Building Regulations application for your proposed building work.

  • Full Plans, and
  • Building Notice applications

How do I choose which form of application to make?

An application can be made by either the deposit of Full Plans, or giving a Building Notice. Please note that the Building Notice type cannot be used for all types of building work, including;

  1. If the building in question is, or will be the subject of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 i.e. this is likely to be any building other than a single family dwelling house.
    For all non-domestic proposals a Full Plans application must be submitted.
    New and alterations to flats that have a communal entrance must be Full Plans applications.
  2. Where a new building, extension to a building or a foundation underpinning operation is proposed that will be within 3.0m of a sewer identified on the map of sewers maintained by Severn Trent Water.
  3. Where a new building is proposed and the property does not front a street.

Full Plans Procedure

For a full plan application, plans need to be produced showing all constructional details, preferably well in advance of your intended commencement on site. These details will be thoroughly checked by us. When we are satisfied that the work shown on the plans complies with the regulations, you will be issued with an approval notice. This will give you the protection of being able to show that the plans were approved as complying with the regulations.

The Council are required to give a decision on the application within 5 weeks, or with the agreement of both the Council and applicant, within 2 months of deposit. If minor defects in the plan are discovered, the Council will allow you the opportunity to amend the plans, provided sufficient time is available within the 5 weeks statutory period, or a Conditional Approval may be issued to cover these items with your agreement.

Building Notice Procedure

For a building notice application, less detailed information is required and detailed plans are not submitted. (Specific details may be required in some circumstances, e.g. structural calculations to demonstrate compliance with safety requirements on the structure of the building.)

Under the building notice procedure, an acceptance notice is issued, but plans are not approved, therefore you must feel confident that the work will comply with the regulations, or you risk having to correct any contravening works. The advantage is speed – five days for a building notice and 21 days for full plans.

Once a Building Notice is submitted, work can commence on site 48 hours (two working days) after deposit of the notice. You will receive an application reference number on your Acceptance Notice, which will enable you to request an inspection.

What is the cost?

When either a Full Plans application or a Building Notice is made to the Council certain charges will require to be paid. In the case of a Full Plans application a charge is paid when the plans are deposited with the Council and also a charge is paid when the work has commenced and a Building Control Officer visits the site. This site inspection charge is paid only once.

Where a Building Notice application is submitted the Council charge is paid in full at the time of submission.

The charge will always be the same amount for either type of application submitted. Full details of costs for submission of plans and inspection are supplied with application forms, download application forms.

What does the Local Authority need to inspect

You are required by Statute to inform the Council of the following operations:

  • Commencement.
  • Excavations.
  • Concrete foundations laid.
  • Damp proof course and damp proof membrane laid.
  • Drains laid.

All of the above notices must be given at least 24 hours prior to covering up. This notice excludes Bank Holidays, Public Holidays and Weekends. You are also requested to notify the Building Control Officer at stages in the construction phase as agreed for specific elements of construction.

  • Drains ready for testing.
  • Occupation.
  • Final Completion.

All of the above notices must be given within 7 days of any of the above actions.

Contact us

Planning and Building Control
Civic Centre
Darwall Street
Walsall
WS1 1DG

Email buildingcontrol@walsall.gov.uk
Telephone (01922) 652600
Out of office hours emergency contact (019226) 50000
Textphone 0845 111 2910

Visit us

At the First Stop Shop www.walsall.gov.uk/first_stop_shop.htm

Office opening times

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8.45am – 5.15pm
Friday: 8.45am - 4.45pm

Complaints/compliments

Please view our complaints and compliments webpage where you can complete an online contact form or alternatively you can print and complete our comments, compliments and complaints form.

This page was last updated on 16 June 2014