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What is Building Control?

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Building control is a vital regulatory process ensuring that construction projects adhere to Building Regulations in the UK. These regulations encompass structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, accessibility, ventilation, sanitation, and other crucial aspects for safe and healthy buildings.

It is the process in which a Local Authority Building Control department, or a private company providing building inspectors, confirms that the construction work meets the standards set out in the Building Regulations. These building control bodies (either Local Authority Building Control or private Approved Inspectors) review plans, conduct inspections, and ultimately approve projects as compliant.

The Building Safety Act, through the Building Safety Regulator, introduces new systems to improve the levels of competence, raise standards of building safety and to clarify the roles and responsibilities within the building control process that includes:

  • A register of building inspectors which will become a regulated profession.
  • A register of building control bodies
  • A competence framework for assessment of Building Inspectors
  • Operating Standards Rules for Building Control Bodies
  •  Code of Conduct for Registered Building Inspectors
From 6 April 2024, all Building Control Approvers and Inspectors must be registered with the Building Safety Regulator and comply with the new building control framework.

For Higher-Risk Buildings that have not had an initial notice or full plans for construction or refurbishment work approved by a local authority by 1 October 2023, the Building Safety Regulator is now the Building Control Body.  

For all other buildings, the Building Control Body can be either a Local Authority Building Control department or a Building Control Approver (a private company proving Building Inspectors).  Registers for Building Control professionals are now live:  Find registered Building Control Approvers and Building Inspectors in England and Wales.

For work carried out by a member of a Competent Person Scheme (CPS), such as BESCA CPS does NOT need to be approved by a Building Control Body.

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What are the key stages of the building control process?

  • Pre-Application Discussions: Engage with building control early in the project to discuss plans, and potential challenges, and ensure design alignment with expectations.
  • Submitting Plans and Notifications: Provide detailed plans and information for building control review. There are two main submission routes:
    • Full Plans Application: Detailed plans for full assessment.
    • Building Notice: Less detail submitted, with more reliance on site inspections.
  • Site Inspections: Building control will inspect work at various stages. It's crucial to coordinate with them, address any queries, and rectify any identified issues.
  • Completion Certificate: Upon satisfactory completion, the building control body issues this certificate confirming compliance with the Building Regulations.

The Building Safety Act and Building Control Key Elements

The Building Safety Act introduces significant changes to building control, particularly for higher-risk buildings (HRBs). Key aspects include:

  • Gateway System: Three gateways with mandatory approval points during the design and construction of HRBs.  Gateway 1 replaces the full plans route.
  • Accountable Persons and Principal Accountable Persons: Designated responsible individuals for managing building safety.
  • Building Safety Regulator (BSR): A new regulator overseeing the system and with enforcement powers.
  • Competence Requirements: Stricter competence standards for those involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of HRBs.
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The Importance of Building Control for BESA Members

Compliance: BESA members, as specialists in building engineering services, must work within the framework set by the Building Regulations. Building control ensures works are designed and installed in a compliant manner.

Quality and Safety: Adherence to building control standards guarantees the quality and safety of building systems for which BESA members are responsible.

Reputation: Working with building control upholds the reputation of BESA members as professionals who deliver safe and compliant buildings.

How BESA support members with Building Control?

Technical Guidance: BESA provides technical publications, guidance documents, and bulletins aiding members in adhering to building control requirements.

Training and Competence: BESA offers training courses and supports competence frameworks, ensuring members meet the elevated standards of the Building Safety Act.

Industry Representation: BESA engages with regulators and policymakers, influencing the Building Control system to support their members and the broader industry.

Key points to remember

  • Engage with building control early and maintain open communication.
  • Ensure the competence of your team is in line with the Building Safety Act requirements.
  • Prioritise and evidence compliance with the Building Regulations in all your work by utilising the resources and support provided by BESA.
  • BESA resources: For guidance, support and up-to-date announcements, visit our Building Safety Act Hub where you’ll find the latest information on the Building Safety Act with easy to digest guidance & Regulations. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Building Control

How do I get a building control completion certificate?
  • Project Completion: Ensure your construction project is fully completed and meets the agreed-upon plans and specifications.
  • Final Inspection Request: Contact your building control body (local authority or approved inspector) and request a final inspection. They may have an online form or require a phone call.
  • Inspection: A building control officer will visit the site to verify completion and compliance with building regulations.
  • Compliance Confirmation: Upon successful inspection, confirming all regulations are met, you will receive a completion certificate.
  • If your building falls under the category of a Higher-Risk Building, you must secure a completion certification from the Building Safety Regulator via the Gateway 3 procedure prior to occupancy.
Do I need building control for internal works?
  • Not all internal works require building control: Most minor repairs, replacements, and maintenance works generally don't need it.
  • Focus on structural elements: Building control usually becomes necessary for internal alterations impacting load-bearing walls, chimneys, fireplaces, or walls around staircases.
  • Consult your local building control body: If unsure about your specific project, it's best to contact them for clarification and guidance.
  • Competent person schemes: For specific internal works like window replacements, utilising an installer registered with a competent person scheme may suffice instead of building control approval.