Playing by the Rules

Common misconceptions surrounding building control include the idea that their involvement will prevent you from achieving the design you would like, and that it will lead to an escalation of construction costs.

Building regulations do have flexibility. Note that the very short part of the text highlighted in green is the building regulation – the rest is simply a guideline on meeting it. If your building project challenges the conventional design for meeting a building regulation, it is wise to involve a building control officer as early as possible in the design stage.

Non-conventional solutions for meeting building regulations may have costs attached, and it is best to meet with building control and your architect early so as to highlight any issues. Building regulations are there for your safety.

It says something troubling about a builder’s attitude to health and safety if they are happy to proceed without telling building control. Moreover, when you come to sell your house, areas that don’t meet building regulations will be highlighted by a solicitor and it is very likely that you will have to put them right, often involving structural changes.

If you engage with building control from the start, you can then rest assured your project will be properly constructed and you will have created a safe and wonderful place for you and your family to live.

HOW TO GET BEST DESIGN AT BEST VALUE

Invest up front. Design a more efficient house: new glazing, boiler, consumer unit and insulation, and specify every fixture and fitting before work starts. Issue details along with a technical drawing pack at tender stage.

• Tender your project with 2-3 builders against a detailed scope of works

• Make sure someone capable is checking works onsite to ensure that you are never paying too far ahead

• Appoint a specialist basement company for below-ground works and a separate builder for aboveground renovations

• Buy your own fixtures and fittings – builders often add a handling charge

• Create a temporary kitchen and living area so you avoid having to rent

• Use a mix of freestanding and bespoke storage rather than building everything in • Bespoke kitchens often have quicker lead times and are better value and quality than high street brands

• Salvage: it may be sanitaryware or a chimney breast; work with elements you already have and transform them with clever design
Source: Ensoul