Report a Dangerous Structure:
If you see a building or structure which you feel may be a source of danger please telephone us immediately on T: 0300 124 5000
What are the Building Regulations?
The Building Regulations contain various sections dealing with definitions, procedures, and what is expected in terms of the technical performance of building work. For example, they:
Define what types of building, and heating projects amount to ‘Building Work’ and make these subject to control under the Building Regulations;
- Specify what types of buildings are exempt from control under the Building Regulations;
- Set out the notification procedures to follow when starting, carrying out, and completing building work;
- Set out the ‘requirements’ with which the individual aspects of building design and construction must comply in the interests of the health and safety of building users, of energy conservation, and of access to and use of buildings.
The Requirements of the Building Regulations
Anyone requiring to carry out building work which is subject to the Building Regulations is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations.
The primary responsibility for achieving compliance with the regulations rests with the person carrying out the building work.
These are contained in the Building Regulations (NI) 2012 and are grouped under fourteen ‘parts’. The ‘parts’ deal with individual aspects of building design and construction ranging from structural matters, fire safety, and energy conservation – to hygiene, sound insulation, and access to and use of buildings.
The ‘requirements’ within each ‘part’ set out the broad objectives or functions which the individual aspects of the building design and construction must set out to achieve. They are therefore often referred to as ‘functional requirements’ and are expressed in terms of what is ‘reasonable’, ‘adequate’, or ‘appropriate’. Not all the functional requirements may apply to your building work, but all those which do apply must be complied with as part of the overall process of complying with the Building Regulations.
Making a Building Regulation Application
Before commencing any building work it is advisable to contact the us to check if the proposed work would attract the Building Regulations.
Where the building work attracts the Building Regulations it is imperative that a Building Regulation Application is made before any work commences, failure to do this is a criminal offence that may result in Council taking legal action.
Any persons who intend to carry out any building work or make any material change of use of a building shall give notices, deposit of plans in accordance with Part ‘A’ and/or Part ‘B’ of Schedule 2 of the current Building Regulations.
There are a number of application types available to applicants depending on the nature of the work whether it is associated with a domestic or commercial/industrial project.
Types of Applications
Full Plans Application - Domestic/Commercial/Industrial
This type of application can be for new build, extensions or minor renovations being carried out on dwellings. The applicant must submit (2 copies for domestic and 4 copies for commercial/industrial) of Legible Construction Plans and Technical Specifications and written particulars. After we receive the application it is assessed and if all the information on the drawings are in compliance and the fee is correct an ‘Approval Certificate’ is issued.
Building Notice Application - Small Domestic Only
A Building Notice can be used for minor domestic works including extensions up to 10m2. A roof-space conversion is considered an extension. (There is no Approval Certificate issued with a Building Notice Application)
Regularisation Application - Domestic/Commercial/Industrial
Unauthorised works are works to which the Building Regulations applied and have commenced or been completed before a valid application has been received.
Where unauthorised work has been carried out, with no Notice given nor plans submitted, an application can be made to us for a Regularisation Certificate. Regularisation applications can be made for both domestic and non-domestic works commenced on or after 1 October 1973. Work completed prior to this date is not covered by the Regularisation procedure. This process was introduced to assist those who carried out building work that required Building Regulations Approval but did not make the appropriate application.
Unauthorised work can cause problems when conveyancing is being carried out on a property being sold. Inspections are carried out by the Building Control Officer to ascertain whether or not the work complies. This may necessitate opening up, additional work and further inspections.
Regularisation applications are subject to an increased fee.
We have a statutory duty to enforce the building regulations subject to and in accordance with The Building regulations (NI) Order 1979 (as amended).
Where work is carried out in contravention of the building regulations we will seek to ensure that appropriate remedial works are implemented. Compliance with the regulations will usually be achieved through discussion and correspondence with the applicant and/or builder. In circumstances however where remedial works to abate contraventions are not carried out we may have to resort to a more formal approach.
When someone fails to comply with the building regulations they will have committed a criminal offence and in such circumstances the Council could take action to prosecute the offender. Rather than resorting to court action in the first instance we will usually first serve a Contravention Notice and only if the terms of the Notice have not been met will prosecution follow.