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Does anyone know a thing or two about building regs?

(25 Posts)
suebfg Sun 07-Apr-13 22:24:10

So we are in the process of buying a house that has had some extension work and it was highlighted in the survey to confirm that building regs were obtained. Now in our area, you can search on building regulations applications and I can't find any applications for the house we are buying. I'm now really concerned that we have wasted fees etc (as we were paying a premium for the extended space).

Are building regs applications always listed online?

ILikeBirds Sun 07-Apr-13 22:37:45

It's unusual for building regs to be listed online. Usually only initial notices are freely available as that is a public register.

crochetcircle Sun 07-Apr-13 22:39:21

That's what "the searches" will show up. Or your solicitors will find out for you. It's only planning applications that are held online afaik.

architectming Sun 07-Apr-13 22:44:06

Any building work that signed off by the council will have a completion certificate to say all work comply with regulations. Your solicitor should be able to ask the seller for such certificate. I will be very careful if they can produce it.

MaudLebowski Sun 07-Apr-13 22:56:52

If it doesn't have building regs it's not always a big deal, it will depend on the nature of the work involved. For an extension I would ask for a hole to be dug next to the foundations of the new part of the building to see if it was supported properly. I'd also be interested in any lintels over new doorways or patio doors, any new connections to the drains and the amount of insulation involved. Work is regularised (made legal) to the regulations that were in force when it was built. The older the better from your perspective as the rules only get more onerous. If its pretty old only the structural and the drains will be involved.
Building inspectors are practical types and will have seen it a million times before so don't worry too much.
Hope it's useful, good luck

suebfg Mon 08-Apr-13 15:52:52

Thanks. If it hasn't got building regs then it is a non starter for us unfortunately - unless the vendor will go through the process to obtain it.

PolterGooseLaidAChocolateEgg Mon 08-Apr-13 16:09:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

suebfg Mon 08-Apr-13 16:33:05

It was built less than 10 years ago. It would be a deal breaker for us as it is upstairs and there could be issues structurally if building regs were not obtained. Indemnity insurance would not protect us against structural issues I don't think and we might have issues getting building insurance.

MinimalistMommi Mon 08-Apr-13 17:59:00

Is any part of it a bedroom? If so, and there are no building regs, in legal terms it makes that room not habitual and again, in legal terms, it couldn't be counted as a bedroom when the house is sold in the future.

PolterGooseLaidAChocolateEgg Mon 08-Apr-13 18:04:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nocake Mon 08-Apr-13 18:16:31

The quickest way to check is to contact the council building control dept. It will be quicker, and cheaper, than having your solicitor do it. A friend needed the information in a hurry and they found the certificate within a few minutes.

suebfg Mon 08-Apr-13 18:32:46

Our solicitor is making enquiries. Apparently contacting the council could invalidate any indemnity policies that the vendor has in place.

If it hasn't been signed off by building regs, then there is a good chance it isn't structurally sound or complies with fire regs etc. I'm not prepared to take the risk if it isn't been signed off - not for the biggest purchase of my life!

PolterGooseLaidAChocolateEgg Mon 08-Apr-13 18:47:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Potterer Mon 08-Apr-13 20:07:17

Does it have planning or was it done under permitted development rights?

My planning applicationsis are on-line and underneath the first application it says "building control application" and next to status it says "building work complete"

Personally, I always think to myself, what builder would not go down advising the client to have building regs?

I am in the middle of an extension, and Building Control have been out to view the dug ground ready for the foundations, our foundations were laid and they came out to see that. They are due back on Wednesday to see the brickwork (blockwork for foundations went down today)

My main question to the vendor (put via your solicitor) is why they chose not to have building regs.

If your solicitor contacts the council it doesn't invalidate their indemnity insurance. The only way for that to happen is for you to buy the house, get indemnity insurance and then you ring the council and dob yourself in to get the work re-done.

We had an indemnity insurance on a house but it was for non- FENSA windows, I wouldn't risk a massive extension without building regs even if it was built to standard how would I know?

Potterer Mon 08-Apr-13 20:07:47

*applications

architectming Mon 08-Apr-13 20:21:56

I always advice clients to be very careful if the house hasn't got building reg 'Completion Certificate'. You may think it is a small job to rectify the problem, but if it has not been inspected at all, the building control officer will want to see everything, including foundation, wall construction, insulation etc. Do you really want to knocking holes through your newly bought house and go through the hassle.

You can take a view on the amount of work that is required and ask the vendor to lower the price, but you got to know what you are doing.

It never fail to amaze me why people will spend their hard earn cash to do an extension with proper professional help and getting all the certificates to protect the value of the extension.

suebfg Mon 08-Apr-13 20:23:30

I think it was a previous owner who had the works done. There may be building regs in place (although not visible online - neighbouring property building regs are visible) or there might not be and the current owner was prepared to accept an indemnity insurance.

I don't want to ring the council directly although I wish I'd done that before we got into the process sad

SwedishEdith Mon 08-Apr-13 20:25:14

You need more info. Our extension has not yet been signed off because we put an external door in that we later discovered should be a fire door. Would take a few hours to change it.

suebfg Mon 08-Apr-13 20:26:37

"I always advice clients to be very careful if the house hasn't got building reg 'Completion Certificate'."

I completely agree and because of the nature of some of the works, I couldn't even consider buying it without the major works having had building regs approval. I'm concerned that there are no building regs because (a) there is no evidence of them online and (b) a couple of the surveyor comments hinted at the works perhaps being a DIY job (not outright but the insinuation was there).

architectming Mon 08-Apr-13 20:27:02

What's wrong with ringing the council and ask if certain property's extension has got building regulation certificate? It is well within your right to find out and not your problem if it hasn't.

There are many extensions up and down the country without building regs, it only becomes a problem when you need to sell the property like the situation you are in.

LIZS Mon 08-Apr-13 20:27:35

It would only invalidate a subsequent indemnity policy , an existing one can be passed on. What are you afraid of as it only covers council enforcement anyway not structural or specification issues. We didn't have a certificate for our loft room but it was built/boarded as part of original structure and staircase (for which there were building regs) added a year or so later.

architectming Mon 08-Apr-13 20:30:07

*without professional help - slippery fingers! ;-)

suebfg Thu 11-Apr-13 21:15:58

We have now established that there is no building regs approval. We have asked that the vendors get retrospective approval as we're not willing to accept an indemnity policy. Doubt they will be willing to do this but can't see another way forward really.

architectming Thu 11-Apr-13 21:45:32

Or if it is a house that you really want, ask a qualified Architect to go to the house with you to examine the likely non-compliant items and come up with an estimated cost. You can then ask the seller to knock it off the asking price.

This will also gives you the opportunity to renovate / decorate the house while work being done.

Just a thought.

suebfg Thu 11-Apr-13 21:57:52

Thanks for the suggestion. Not sure I want to bear the risk though - will have to ponder.

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