Building Notice v Full Plans

In England and Wales, once you have planning permission and are about to start work, you are required to apply to the Building Control department of the local authority for their approval.  In simplistic terms, the Planning Application obtained for the work at a house say, is associated with the aesthetics of the property and how it would fit within the local landscape and area.  Building Control are concerned with the technical way in which the work is being done, or the specification of items used in the construction.  It is normal that you would apply to Building Control after Planning Permission is granted and normally in your planning permission, there is references to building control departments.

Once you have planning permission, you have two options in respect to Building Control.  These are :

  • Building Notice
  • Full Plans

Both require a fee to be paid to the Building Control department depending on the type and nature of the works being undertaken.timber-truss-design-and-alterations-1024x768

A building notice is as the name suggests, a notice to the Building Control department that you are to undertake work.  It gives no other information and over the period of construction, Building Control monitor the construction work being undertaken in accordance with approved standards of construction.  Normally if work is not right, Building Control officers will inform you to make good or recommend a course of action to take.  This is good if works are simple and are starting soon.  We even had a Building Control officer come out after 4 hours of making the application to inspect foundations.

Full plans is the alternative, and normally takes a much longer period.  Basically it requires a full design, specification and calculations to be submitted for approval by the Building Control department prior to work commencing.  Normally this involves a third party check on any structural aspects and requires all aspects of the design to be developed prior to construction starting.  This is a good solution if projects are to be tendered and working drawings produced, however for simple structural alterations or minor works, this is not the most efficient way to obtain approvals.
The department of communities and local government publish a specific guide for householders to establish what work Building Control are
required to supervise.  This is on the web here.

The technical documents and guides for the standards expected of building work are also available online.  These are on the web at this location.  We have seen versions for sale on ebay or amazon but these are free to download on the internet so DONT BUY them.

These can be complex, in particular around electrical or fire aspects and if in doubt ask a professional to support your project.  They also change regularly and a professional electrician will be up to date with the various requirements needed.

Please, if in doubt ask for advice, an architect, consulting engineer or reputable builder will give you good and sound advice.  If you have doubts, ask someone else for a second opinion.