If you have a project that requires building control approval, you have the choice of whether to use an Approved Inspector or the local authority. The Building Regulations that you are required to comply with do not change irrespective of which building control service provider you choose to use.
To begin the building control process, the Approved Inspector will need to obtain written authorisation from the owner of the building or, in the case of volume housing, the builder or developer, that they have permission to act as the building control body on the project. This is often included as part of an application or project appointment form that you (or your agent) will complete and return to the Approved Inspector.
Once you have formally appointed an Approved Inspector, you and the Approved Inspector jointly notify your local authority of your intended building work on what is called an Initial Notice. The Approved Inspector is able to sign this Initial Notice on your behalf provided they have your authorisation to do so.
Once the Initial Notice has been accepted by your local authority (or deemed accepted after five working days) the responsibility for plan checking and site inspection will be formally placed on the Approved Inspector. You may not commence any work on the project until the Initial Notice has been accepted or until five working days have passed since the Initial Notice was submitted to the local authority.
An Approved Inspector will:
- Advise you on how the Building Regulations apply to your work
- Submit an Initial Notice to the local authority
- Check your plans (if available)
- Issue a Plans Certificate (if requested)
- Consult with the fire and water authorities (if required)
- Inspect the work as it progresses
- Issue a Final Certificate (if the Approved Inspector considers that the work is in compliance with the Building Regulations)
The inspections which building control bodies undertake should not be confused with full site supervision. Inspections are carried out at certain stages of the building work and these inspections are carried out to check, but not to guarantee, that the work complies with the Building Regulations. Final Certificates are therefore not a guarantee or a warranty for the building work that has been carried out. Approved Inspectors do not carry out a traditional ‘Clerk of Works’ service that monitors every stage of the construction process and, should you require this service, you may wish to appoint a qualified professional to undertake this function.