Whether your project requires building regulations or not, David Salisbury will always advise that you do the job properly. Just because it may be a small base for a conservatory or orangery does not mean that the base work should be done to any other than a properly compliant standard, even if regulation approval is not required.
Complying with Regulations
Anyone wanting to carry out building work, which is subject to Building Regulations, is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations and (with some exceptions) to use one of the two types of Building Control Service available:
- The Building Control Service provided by your local authority; or
- The Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors.
You will have to pay for either service, but the building control service you select may offer advice before your work is started. The primary responsibility for achieving compliance with the regulations rests with the person carrying out the building work. So if you are carrying out the work personally, the responsibility will be yours. If you are employing a builder the responsibility will usually be that firm’s – but you should confirm this position at the very beginning. You should also bear in mind that if you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations. So it is important to choose your builder carefully.
You may need approval for various elements such as the structural integrity, appropriate levels of insulation or if you intend building over a drain or sewer. In cases where it is obvious that you require building regulations, you may well feel inclined to submit planning and building approval applications at the same time. However, there is a fee based on the value of the work, so for complex projects it may be sensible to wait for planning consent in case the scheme needs altering and a fresh application is required.
It can sound daunting and of course we can look after all of this if that is what you require. However, Building Inspectors are practical people and you will usually find them extremely co-operative and helpful. We would recommend that you consult the relevant authority at an early stage. Building Regulations will be required if you are undertaking an extension or erecting a new building.
There is an exemption from the regulations provided you meet all of the following:
- The internal floor area is less than 30 square metres.
- The glazing materials used meet the requirements of part K 4 of schedule 1 (toughened glass achieves this).
- Where existing walls, doors and windows in the part of the dwelling which separates the conservatory are retained or, if removed/replaced by walls, windows and doors which meet the energy efficiency requirements.
- Heating is not extended into Conservatories or Porches. (Thermostatic radiator valves achieve this).
Also, some historic buildings and buildings in a conservation area may be exempt. This will be governed by the aesthetic of the building (see part L1B. 3:11) rather than need to avoid the regulations.