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Residential Property Investor Update on Building Regulations

Jun 22nd, 2016

Are you selling or buying residential property?  What documents will you need regarding works you have carried out?  Sarah Miles from Commercial Property explains.

When is approval required?

Building Regulations approval is required for a wide range of works including but not limited to installation of windows, doors, insulation of a heating system, amendments to the electrical system, erection or extension of a building and consequential improvements to energy performance.

What to do if approval was not obtained?

A Regularisation Certificate can be obtained from the Local Authority. This involves the Local Authority inspecting the works and establishing if it complies with current Building Regulations. If it does not then work will be necessary to enable compliance which could be costly.

As an alternative an insurance policy may be obtain during the sale transaction for the lack of Building Regulations Completion Certificate. These policies are designed to protect home owners in the event that enforcement action is taken by the Local Authority. It is common for the cover to be limited to the loss in the market value of the property in the event that the Local Authority requires the property to be reinstated to its original form. The policies generally do not cover the remedial cost of rectifying defective workmanship. 

What are the consequences of not obtaining approval?

Local Authorities have a number of options available in relation to the enforcement of lack of building regulations approval.   These include serving an enforcement notice, applying for an injunction or prosecute in the magistrates’ court.    An enforcement notice states works are to be carried out and if not then a Local Authority can carry out the works.  The notice must be served within a 12 months period from the date of completion.  Once that point has passed the Local Authority would have to pursue the matter by obtaining an injunction – which could prove costly to the local authority.   As a home owner you could face a fine and have to carry out works to comply with the regulations. 

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