Do you know what is Building Control?
When new buildings, extensions or alterations are being considered, most people automatically assume that Planning Permission will be required and whilst this is often true, there is usually much confusion in the public's mind between Planning and Building Control. Whether or not Planning Permission is required, the work will, in most cases, have to satisfy national Building Regulations and it is this function that is termed 'Building Control'.
Whilst Planning relates to 'use zoning' and aesthetic design, Building Control is mainly concerned with the administration of the Building Regulations which control such matters as structural stability, means of escape in case of fire, structural fire precautions, resistance to moisture, sound and thermal insulation, stairways, drainage and access for disabled persons, amongst other things. This form of control ensures that buildings will be safe and will not pose a health risk to the occupants. It also ensures that buildings will be thermally efficient and accessible to disabled persons.
Control is exercised principally in two ways, i.e by the submission of plans to the Local Authority and by the inspection of work on site, although an increasing number of projects are now dealt with under a simplified procedure called a Building Notice whereby control is wholly exercised on site.
In addition to dealing with Building Regulations, most Building Control sections also undertake a range of other duties, e.g control of dangerous structures and demolition, safety of sports grounds, street naming and numbering etc, although these functions may vary from Authority to Authority.
1.2 In general the main objectives and targets of building control are to:
1.2.1 Dealing with Applications, this will include-
• To give a decision on Full Plans applications within time and examine applications and either issue a decision or request additional information or amendment within that time,
• To examine all Building Notice applications within time to allow work to proceed,
• To examine Initial Notices from approved inspectors and issue a decision within effective time.
1.2.2 Carry out Inspections on Site, this will include-
• To inspect works under construction at the appropriate stage, as requested, to achieve compliance with the Building Regulations,
• To ensure that any inspection of work requested is carried out at the requested period and time,
• To accept requests for inspection of works other than commencement and completion notices,
• To issue a certificate of completion following a final inspection when all work has been satisfactorily inspected and completed in accordance with the Building Regulations.
1.2.3 Inspect Dangerous Structures and Demolitions, this will include-
• To carry out inspection on dangerous structures if possible within a few hours of notification and always on the same day,
• To serve notices of demolition within specific time of the notification of intent,
1.2.4 Provide advice, this will include-
• Providing advices to applicants and other enquirers on matters appertaining to the Building Regulations.
1.3 Job description
Building control surveyors ensure that building control regulations are observed in the planning and construction stages of new buildings and most property extensions and conversions (certain smaller projects are exempt from control under The Building Act/Regulations). On complex projects they may be involved at the pre-application stage, to offer advice on design issues.
Building Control Surveyors provide a service to the community by ensuring that buildings comply with Building Regulations. Surveyors are expert in the Building Regulations and provide advice to builders, architects and other professionals.
Building control surveyors use their professional skill and judgement to offer advice on acceptable solutions to meet the statutory requirements of regulations. After the work has commenced, they make site visits at different stages to ensure that the construction is being properly carried out.
To be continued...
By Pejuang Kecil Ukur Bangunan a.k.a Editor