FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an Approved Inspector?
AI’s are an alternative to Local Authority building control. Today, both AI’s and LA building control are called ‘building control bodies’ – you can now choose which BCB you wish to use.
What’s the difference between an AI and LA building control?
LBC, as an AI, can work anywhere in England and Wales; this means we can offer you a standard approach no matter where you are, with the same surveyors for all your projects. LBC can certify all types of building work except that already carried out or commenced (which only LA’s can approve).
Who certifies the AI?
AI’s are approved by the CIC on behalf of the Secretary of State and, unlike LA’s, are re-assessed every 5 years to ensure competency of our service.
Can AI’s approve planning?
No, at present only LA’s can do this.
Can LBC do lofts or domestic extensions or just work?
LBC can approve all types of building work, both domestic and commercial.
What about work that has already been done?
AI’s cannot approve work that has already been commenced – this can only be done by the LA.
What about contraventions?
Only an LA has enforcement powers; this means that if the project is not completed to the satisfaction of the AI, the council is informed and the site reverts to them to carry out enforcement as necessary.
Can LBC approve new houses and flats?
Yes, Previous restrictions requiring a linked warranty to be in place with these developments have now been revoked.
Who deals with the LA?
LBC notifies the council both before and at the end of the works. This is then recorded at the LA for future Land Searches and Enquiries such as during sales.
Who pays the LA?
The AI is paid the fee. No fee is given to the council as they are not the building control authority for AI projects and their inspectors should not enter an AI’s site. (On rare occasions, such as where large/tall buildings in London fall under ‘section 20’, a fee for that section may be required by the LA).
What is the LBC fee?
Our fee is usually similar to the LA’s, depending upon the project.We tend to charge a little more for smaller projects, but this is often more than made up for by our quick response to handling your enquiries and needs on site.
Why haven’t we heard about AI’s or LBC before?
Most AI’s work on larger commercial projects. As well as developing our commercial wing, LBC has been establishing a place in the market for smaller domestic work over the last few years.
Why ‘London’ BC?
The company was formed with London as the focus for our work with the majority of our surveyors and offices serving this area, however with our continued success we now operate well beyond and can work anywhere in England and Wales.
Are you insured?
LBC is insured under a Government controlled approved inspector scheme
What are Optional Requirements?
On the 1st October 2015, as part of the Housing Standards Review, Government aimed to consolidate legislation into The Building Regulations from standards previously applied through the Planning process including Access and Water Efficiency.
The Local Planning Authority (LPA) can impose Optional Requirements when granting consent for residential schemes with regard to M4(2), M4(3) and G2 of the revised requirements of The Building Regulations which came into force on 1st October 2015.
The applicant is required to declare whether the LPA has imposed any Optional Requirements when making an application to the Building Control Body (our application form provides a simple ‘tick-box’ facility for this purpose) and it is for the Building Control Body to ensure these higher standards are met.
Part M Access to and use of buildings – Volume 1 Dwellings
Main changes in the 2015 editions
This volume of this approved document supports requirements M4(1), M4(2) and M4(3) of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 2010. It takes effect on 1 October 2016 for use in England. The 2004 edition of Approved Document M with 2010 and 2013 amendments will continye to apply to work started before 1 October 2016 or to work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before that date.
The main changes are:
Volume 1: Dwellings
Volume 2: Building other than dwellings
Requirement M4 ‘Sanitary conveniences in dwellings’ has been replaced by new requirements:
M4(1) Category 1: Visible dwellings
M4(2) Category 2: Accessible and adaptable dwellings
M4(3) Category 3: Wheelchair user dwellings
Regulation M4(1) is mandatory for all new dwellings unless one of the optional requirements (m4(2) or M4(3) applies.
M4(2) and M4(3) require increased levels of accessibility and you advised to contact our Technical Team to discuss compliance with these requirements at an early stage in the design process.
Part G 2 Water Efficiency
The LPA can impose an Optional Requirement to reduce the potential water use from 125 litres per person/day to 110 litres
The revised guidance in the Approved Document, further amended in 2016, is summarised as:
This approved document supports Regulation 36 and Part G of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010. It takes effect on 1 October 2015 for use in England. The 2010 edition, as amended, will continue to apply to work started before 1 October 2015 or work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before that date.
The mains changes are:
Introduction of an optional requirement for tighter water efficiency in Regulation 36 (section G2).
Introduction of a fittings approach as an alternative to using the water efficiency calculated (section G2).
Inclusion of the water efficiency calculator methodology into this approved document, with minor alterations resulting from European efficiency labelling and consequential amendments resulting from removal of references to the Code for Sustainable Homes (Appendix A).
The annex listing the relevant competent person self-certification schemes has been deleted.
Change made by the 2016 amendments
The change, made by Section G2, requires the water efficiency calculator to be completed for new dwellings where a shower will not be provided.