View Full Version : Know anything about Building Regs (UK)?

10th Sep 2011, 19:09
I realise nothing here can be taken as professional advice, but does anyone know much about building regulations?
Mrs Fabs and I have found the 'perfect' house, put in an offer had accepted and got an offer of mortgage based on 70% LTV; all good so far.
New house costs a bomb so have gone to remortgage our (i.e. the wife's) let house to release equity to put towards the 30% deposit and SDLT; again received an offer of mortgage, great! Except that there is a condition that my solicitor provides the mortgage company proof of compliance with building regulations in respect of 3rd bedroom.
News to me, the Mrs put in a stud wall about 7 years ago to turn one massive room into two normal sized ones. Each room already had an existing window and she said the builder stated that he had to put the doors in a certain place (something about distance from stairs etc, making the room slightly smaller than she hoped) to comply with regs; problem is no certificate anywhere and she can't remember seeing one!
Sorry for the long story, I guess the question I have is what is the quickest way for me to sort this? The vendor of the house we are buying wants completion within 28 days.


Standard Noise
10th Sep 2011, 19:20
First port of call should be the Building Regs people at the local council, they should have a record of any permissions granted. However, you run the risk of alerting them to an alteration which may have required to be signed off by them but wasn't because your builder didn't sort it out.

Builders are a bugger for this, friends of ours had their cottage gutted and rebuilt with the stairs moved. The builders put in a new set of stairs that they knew weren't building regs compliant (wrong angle of staircase) but they lied to the building regs people and told our friends that it had been signed off. The builders declared bankruptcy soon after and the paperwork has never appeared leaving our friends in a funny position should they ever come to sell.

10th Sep 2011, 19:49
The whole subject of building regulation is of the road to hell being paved with good (and not so good) intentions. I've learnt the hard way about various no-no's, but in general it all seems VERY hit and miss depending on the local authority and the staff within. For the OP, I would suggest getting someone to make a general enquiry without mentioning the property to see what the lay of the land might be and if possible make a search online of records whenever the original job was done.

Sometimes work is signed off not by the local authority's staff, but by private inspectors and let's just say that all doesn't happen as it should. Some friends were renting a ground floor flat and when the upstairs flat was being renovated the builders discovered that the whole internal chimney breast of the upstairs property was missing the downstairs part :ugh: as the clever builders downstairs had thought it a great space saving idea to remove the chimney breast. Amazingly it never registered on the council's radar.....:eek:


10th Sep 2011, 19:53
Offer to pay 100 for the insurance policy to protect the vendor from further hastle.

It's all a bit of a conveyancing scam.

10th Sep 2011, 19:55
Had a similar problem on selling our old house about 5 years ago. As I recall we were able to pay a one off premium which covered any comeback against our buyers. Speak to your estate agent and solicitor before you stir up any hornets nests with the building regs people.
Edited to add:-
Crossed with gingernut - I think we are both saying the same thing

BAMRA wake up
10th Sep 2011, 20:01
There's a link at the bottom of this page to a useful booklet (assuming your in England):

Planning Portal - Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet (http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/goodpractice/booklet)

Depends whether it's a 'material alteration'.

I'd expect the Building Control people would assess that on:

Whether both new rooms have adequate escape routes, to the stair and through each window.

The partition is not structural (sounds as if it's not). They might take an interest in a new doorway though, if it was formed in a loadbearing partition which might be holding up your roof.

Electrical work was minor, ie not in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors (sounds ok on that).

Is there an online or public register of 'Building Warrants' in your area? Some discreet research might yield some info.

10th Sep 2011, 20:02
Try asking here.

Building Regulations and Planning Permission Forum - DIYnot.com - DIY and Home Improvement (http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=36)

Lots of helpful professionals. For what it's worth, my opinion based on what has been said is that Building Regs are not needed when you simply erect a stud wall.

10th Sep 2011, 20:12
Thanks for all the quick replies. My thinking is that I'll just suck it up and get the indemnity insurance on Monday for no other reason than the fact that it keeps things moving (we really want this house we are buying). After which I'll look into the regs properly (if it's even necessary).

Thanks again and have a good weekend.

10th Sep 2011, 21:21
For what it's worth, my opinion based on what has been said is that Building Regs are not needed when you simply erect a stud wall.

Unless the building is listed. Owner of a hotel locally recently spent a 7 figure sum on a major renovation. Tore down a load of lath and plaster partition walls which were replaced with stud and plasterboard. Building inspector comes along, says, very nice, now knock them down and re-instate the lath and plaster ones.

Costly mistake.

11th Sep 2011, 08:53
Another point - you don't necessarily have to go to a council for building regs approval. Several independant companies (e.g. NHBC, you can google for others, but note that some of them only want to do big building sites) are now entitled to do this, so if no approval has been registered and you have to get a new approval for it, you could ask a few of them what they would charge, and at the same time suss out how critical they would be.

All a storm in a teacup, 'cos the most they could do would be to make you re-instate the two rooms back into one - knocking down a stud partition isn't exactly a major job.