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Site inspections

Find out more about when Building Control will visit your building project

Once you have submitted an application for approval with full plans or a Building Notice, work can start on site. The Building Regulations require that you or your builder notify us at various stages. 

You may need planning permission or other approvals before work starts. If in doubt, please contact the Planning Department before work commences.

The most important visit will be following your notice of intention to start work. There is a statutory requirement to notify Building Control. You must do this two days before work is due to start. We will discuss your provisional inspection service plan during that visit. It will outline key stages of the process that we need to check for compliance, considering the associated risks.

Important Update - Notice of Commencement

As of 1 October 2023, for applications to be considered as started for the purposes of Regulation 13(5) of The Building Regulations 2010; and Section 32 of The Building Act 1984, the works will need to have progressed to at least one of the following:

  • When the sub- surface structure of the building or extension (including all foundations), any basement level (if any) and the structure of ground floor level is completed.
  • For any other building work 15% completion of the overall project

Under Regulation 16 (3C) it is now a legal requirement that within five days after the work has commenced, the person carrying out work must give notice to the Building Control Body. Please note that this does not change the requirement for a valid Building Control application to be submitted to Building Control prior to any works starting on site. The above stages are only relevant to Regulation 13(5) of the Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 and Section 32 of The Building Act 1984.

Inspection stages - Inspection Service Plans

The number of site inspections required will depend on the type of building and your builder's experience. 

Regulation 16 of the Building Regulations 2023 requires persons who propose to carry out building work to notify us to determine what stages of the work we will need to inspect. This is in addition to when you intend to start work, commencement and completion.

We will ensure our team is available to carry out your site inspections. We want to help ensure that the completed project meets the building regulations.

We carry out site inspections out on request. We will discuss the number and type of inspections at the first visit. You should follow this plan during your building project and notify us at each stage. The use of the building notice procedure may require additional inspections. Typical inspections are set out below with notes which may help you or your builder.

Notice of intention to start work (Statutory)

This is normally your builder’s first contact with officers. It is an opportunity to discuss and clarify any concerns you may have. 

We will respond to this notification and take the opportunity to: 

  • generally discuss the project
  • set out the Inspection Plan
  • remind the builder of any conditions on the approval
  • check that the site is as shown, particularly in respect of drain layout and depths

Foundation Excavation

This inspection ensures that the ground being built on is satisfactory. The Building Control Surveyor will consider various aspects during this inspection, including:

  • the load bearing capacity of the ground
  • the proximity and depth of any drain
  • any indication of filled ground, generally or limited areas
  • the depth of existing foundations; and
  • proximity of trees, or trees already removed

Foundation Concrete

There is not much point to just inspecting concrete in the ground. It is more useful to build the blockwork up to damp-proof course level. Then do the inspection before backfilling. We can then check the position of the walling on the foundations and any other details.

Damp-proof Course (DPC) and Membranes (DPM)

We will check the damp-proof course to ensure: 

  • suitability
  • width of material
  • the laps and joints

We will also check the DPC/cavity arrangements at the junction with the existing wall. Any concrete fill within the cavity must finish at least 150mm below DPC level. Generally, there is no objection to some walling above DPC level at time of inspection. This enables us to ensure external wall construction is correct at this level.

We will check that: 

  • the DPM itself is suitable
  • any joints are rolled or taped
  • where appropriate, there is radon protection
  • there is sufficient DPM turned up in the walls to tie in with DPC (new and existing)
  • the floor insulation has tight joints and is turned up the edge of any slab

Laying of Drains

You should submit this inspection request before you backfill the drains. We will check lots of details, including those listed below on this inspection: 

  • suitability of material used
  • fall and line of drain
  • material used for bed and surround
  • access points for clearing blockages

Completed Roof Structure

You should request the inspection before applying felt and battens and before removing scaffolding. We will inspect:

  • the size, grade and centre of timbers
  • bracing
  • lateral restraint
  • wall plate straps

Before Plastering or Dry Lining

We will inspect any new domestic electrical wiring associated with new circuits not installed by a Part P registered competent person. We will also assess:

  • wall finishes
  • timber framing
  • reveal details
  • party wall details
  • internal walls
  • floor joists including the size, grade and centre of joists
  • floor bearings, lateral restraint straps and herringbone strutting

Test on Drains

You may need an air or water test of all above and below ground drainage. The builder should carry this out. It is helpful if the test can be set up and ready for when we inspect. We appreciate that this may cause difficulty when it affects existing drains.

Occupation (Statutory for commercial uses and flats)

When a building to which the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies or will apply after completion is occupied before completion you should notify us five days before occupation. If the premises are for commercial use or contain flats, you will need to tell the Fire Authority.

The completion notice must be provided at this stage to Building Control. Learn more about the notice of completion.

Completion (Statutory)

Your builder should arrange the completion inspection. This is to provide a successful conclusion to your building project. This should be no later than five days after the construction work has been completed. If notification has been provided when requested throughout the project, there should be no outstanding matters at this stage. Items checked at this stage, include:

  • fire precautions and requirements. These can apply even in a small extension
  • ventilation to rooms and roof voids
  • waste storage details
  • roof coverings and insulation
  • staircase details
  • safety Glazing
  • test certificates

The completion notice provided with your acknowledgement letter must be provided at this stage to Building Control. We will not be able to issue a completion certificate until all relevant parties have signed this.

The Completion Certificate

We will issue the certificate on satisfactory completion of the work and receipt of the completed and signed notice.

It is most important that you obtain the necessary Building Regulation Completion certificate. Solicitors will specifically check this if you come to sell your property. If you cannot produce the appropriate documents, it will delay the sale.