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Changes to building regulations from October 2023

The Building Safety Act 2022, has brought changes in the Building Regulations and applications to Building Control from 1 October 2023.

These changes include:

  • additional information for applications to Building Control
  • definition of commencement of works
  • additional information being required before a completion certificate can be released

This is to ensure that at each stage in a building project, duty holders are identified and that roles, responsibilities and expectations are clear.

The duty to show compliance with the Building Regulations is imposed on the dutyholders. A dutyholder is any person that is involved with the design, construction or modification of a building project. This would include, but not be limited to, the client, designers and contractors.

Dutyholders are required to ensure:

  • they have competence (the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviour) to carry out the design and buildings work they are engaged to do
  • cooperate with other dutyholders, coordinate their work and communicate and provide information to other dutyholders
  • they are required to ensure that there are arrangements and systems in place to plan, manage and monitor design and building work to ensure compliance with Building Regulations
  • the client must take all reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the dutyholders are competent

Duty holder definitions

Domestic client

Domestic client is anyone who has construction work carried out for them that is not done in connection with a business - usually work done on their own home or the home of a family member.

Commercial client

A commercial client is who has construction work carried out for them that is done in connection with a business. Commercial clients include local authorities, housing associations or other landlords who own domestic properties.

Designers

A designer is an organisation or individual whose business involves preparing or modifying designs for construction projects, or arranging for, or instructing, others to do this. Designs include drawings, design details, specifications, bills of quantity and design calculations.

Designers can be architects, consulting engineers, quantity surveyors and interior designers, or anyone who specifies and alters designs as part of their work. They can also be principal contractors, specialist contractors, tradespeople or even commercial clients, if they get actively involved in design work for their project. Read:

Principal designers

A principal designer is a designer who is an organisation or individual (on smaller projects) appointed by the client to take control of the pre-construction phase of any project involving more than one contractor. Read:

Contractor

A contractor is anyone who directly employs or engages construction workers or manages construction work. Contractors include sub-contractors, any individual self-employed worker or business that carries out, manages or controls construction work.

A contractor is anyone (excluding domestic clients) who, in their business, performs, manages, or oversees building work.

Principal contractor

A principal contractor is appointed by the client to control the construction phase of any project involving more than one contractor. Read:

 

Additional information required on application forms

Applications to Building Control will now require additional information to be provided.

The information required will depend on the nature of the works and whether the application is a Full Plans or a Building Notice. However, you may be asked to provide any of the following details.

Details of the principal designer

See definition on the duty holder definitions (above).

Details of the principal contractor

See definition on the duty holder definitions (above).

Statement of consent

Where the application is not being submitted by the client, the designer or contractor will need to provide a 'statement of consent'. This needs to be signed and dated by the client stating that they agree that the application can be made, and the information contained in the application is correct.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005

Whether the building is a building to which the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005 applies or will apply after the completion of work. The regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order applies to buildings which are non-domestic premises and will include the common area of flats.

Higher risk buildings

Confirmation that the building is not classed as a higher risk building. These buildings are buildings with seven or more storeys or that are 18 metres or higher, and either:

  • have at least two residential units
  • are hospitals or care homes (during design and construction)

If the building is a higher risk building then Building Control can't accept an application for the works and you will need to apply to the Building Safety Regulator. Read:

Use of the building

The current use of the building including the current use of each storey.

The proposed use of the building, including the proposed use of each storey.

Height of the building

The height of the building before and after building work has taken place. The height is measured from the lowest external ground level to height of the highest floor level.

Number of storeys

The number of storeys in the building before and after building work has taken place.

Commencement date

A statement setting out the date when it is proposed the work will reach the point when it is to be regarded as commenced. This is the date at which works start on site and does not include site set up, demolition or enabling works.

Commencement of works will now be considered more of a 'meaningful start' and works are deemed to have been commenced when the following has stage has been reached.

Horizontal extensions and new builds

Complex buildings: date at which the foundations supporting the building and the structure of the lowest floor level of that building are completed.

Non-complex buildings: date at which the sub-surface structure of the building or the extension, including all foundations, basement levels, and structure is of the ground floor level is complete.

Other works: the point at which 15% of the construction works will be completed.

Note: this does not mean inspections are not required before this date.

Electrical work

Whether you are using an electrician who is registered with a relevant competent persons scheme. These are electricians who are members of BESCA, Blue Flame Certification, Certsure, NAPIT, OFTEC, or Stroma. Read:

Requirement H4 (building over sewers)

Whether Requirement H4 applies. If you think that there may be a public sewer within the vicinity of your extension, then it is likely that H4 will apply. You can contact Building Control for advice on the sewer map.

Additional information required on completion

Compliance declarations are now required by Building Control before a completion certificate can be issued and should be provided by the client, principal designer and principal contractor.

The compliance declaration should include the name, address and contact details of each of the dutyholders as well as the information below.

If a domestic client fails to make the appointments required by regulation 11D (principal designer and principal contractor):

  • the designer in control of the design phase of the project is the principal designer
  • the contractor in control of the construction phase of the project is the principal
    contractor

Client compliance declaration

A statement by the client confirming that works are complete and that to the best of the client's knowledge "the works comply with the applicable requirement of the Building Regulations."

Principal designer compliance declaration

A statement by each principal designer (or sole lead designer) confirming the dates of their appointment and that they have fulfilled their duties as principal designer under 2A (dutyholders and competence) of the Building Regulations.

Principal contractor compliance declaration

A statement by each principal contractor (or sole contractor) confirming the dates of their appointment and that they have fulfilled their duties as a principal contractor under 2A (dutyholders and competence) of the Building Regulations.

Useful links

Useful links related to these Building Regulation changes: