If you’re a homeowner seeking building regulations approval for a house extension, structural building work or alterations to your property, did you know that there’s an alternative to your local authority’s building control? Using an approved inspector from a private building control firm could be a better option for you.
One of the frustrations faced by homeowners when pursuing building regulations approval from a local authority is the amount of time it takes to get a response. According to recent industry reports, property owners are waiting an average of four days for a site inspection when contacting their local authority, causing delays to a project.
After a building project has started, a local authority will often send several people to review site progress, each of whom offer differing advice than a previous inspector, leaving builders and homeowners confused.
Why building regulations approval from an approved inspector is easier
In contrast, when working with an approved inspector, your builder can expect to be in direct contact with a designated assessor from start to finish, which eliminates any conflicting advice.
Although local authorities charge less because they are non-profit organisations, paying more for a private, approved inspector gives you more value. You get a dedicated project inspector, which leads to better communication and a more polished service. As an added bonus, you’re project is likely to be completed more quickly, cutting costs.
Local authority VS private building control: Grant Builders’ perspective
In our experience, having used both, the key difference between working with a local authority and an approved inspector is the ability to build a rapport. With the local authority in Chelmsford for instance, you put in a call before 10am and they will visit a site anywhere between 10.30am and 2.30pm, Monday to Friday.
However, because a different inspector is assigned to different areas across Chelmsford, it’s difficult for Grant Builders to establish a rapport with officers sent to sites we’re working on.
In contrast, when working with approved inspectors BCS Building Control Ltd, we’ve found them to be much more responsive and flexible.
For instance, they will perform a site visit on a Saturday and they’re more helpful when it comes to overcoming obstacles, like creating solutions for structural works and dealing with drainage issues.
Due to a number of unforeseen issues that can arise with building work, which can make life difficult for a builder, having a rapport with your building control officer makes all the difference when faced with challenges. It helps to make a project run much more smoothly.
Are private inspectors for building regulations approval legit?
Yes. In 1984, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) was established to allow building control to be privatised. The CIC now regulates private building control and approves inspectors who are qualified to grant building regulations approval in the UK.
There are now more than 150 firms nationwide providing building control services for residential or commercial properties.
Grant Builders recommends using a private building control provider in your local area. We use BCS Building Control Ltd based in Chelmsford. For more information about BCS, call Grant Builders on 07852 428047 or 01245 422226 and we can put you in touch with them.