Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Building Regulations and moving home

Do I have supply evidence of Building Regulation Approval in respect of works carried out to my property when I look to sell my property?

If you have the approval then of course supply it – it will help to ensure your sale moves quickly.

If you have carried out works and approval was required and sought and you no longer have a certificate then call the issuing council and ask for a duplicate.

If you have carried out work, and the work required building regulation approval, but this was not sought then you need to consider with your solicitor when the work was carried out and what to do in response to your buyer’s request for sight of the approval.

The following may help.

Check that work carried out actually required building regulation approval as not all work attracts the requirement.

If the building work was carried out before November 1985 it would not require building regulation approval. There is no need therefore to supply it or offer indemnity insurance.

If work was carried out after November 1985 you can apply to the council for a regularisation certificate. A fee will be payable.  Remember however that once you apply the option of offering indemnity insurance for the defect will be removed.

Depending on when the work was carried out you may also be asked for a completion certificate.

The Building Regulations 2000 provide for the issue, by local authorities, of completion certificates where work has been carried out and completed under the building regulations, and the local authority are satisfied, after taking all reasonable steps, that the relevant requirements of the building regulations have been complied with.

If the work was carried out within the last two years (time limits vary but in the main proceedings must be brought within 2 years of the completion of the offending works) before the sale you will most certainly be asked for the approval, completion certificate or a regularisation certificate if these are not available.  This is because the time for taking enforcement action exists during this period.

However by reason of a decision in the case Cottingham v Attey Bower & Jones it seems an enforcing council may be able to enforce a breach outside this time limit. Due to this when selling solicitors for the buyers normally seek confirmation of compliance of building regulations since the property was built.

The problem is that most council offices don’t keep records of building regulations more than four or five years back. They will often conduct searches of their archived records for £150 or so but what if they don’t turn up an approval? The chance to get an indemnity policy for lack of building regulations has passed so your only option is to pay for the council to come out and inspect the works and issue a regularisation certificate.

Is it always necessary to offer indemnity or a regularisation certificate? 

It is most unlikely that a council will be concerned about a wall being knocked through some 20 years ago particularly given budgetary constraints.  It would only take action if it considered the works were dangerous.  The fact is if they were dangerous this would be revealed in the buyer’s survey.  So if not revealed as dangerous I question whether the risk of injunction proceedings is as high as some buyer’s solicitors would have us believe.

The use of indemnity policy by the seller to address this defect if you are the buyer is one which should be avoided as the policy offered will not provide protection if the work was carried out and structural alterations arise by reason of it.  For this reason a full survey should always be commissioned.
If commissioned and you are the buyer then providing all is well the need for chasing the seller for building regulation approval on works carried out in the deep past must be questionable.

A lack of building regulations indemnity policy could be useful in the case of recent works where a survey reveals no defects and the buyer is in a hurry.
Remember any window or door installation since the 1st April 2002 (contract for work was entered into after this date) requires a certificate issued by the Local Authority Building Control of FENSA.  

As for certain building work involving electrical work or electrical work to existing installations all such work requires Building Regulation Consent if carried out after 1st January 2005.

A Building Regulation Compliance Certificate is also required for the installation of central heating systems after 1st April 2005. Since the 1st April 2009 the scheme changed from CORGI to Gas Safety Register.

Before accepting advice to take our indemnity insurance please read this article by the same author : Overuse of Indemnity Insurance  


.Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

1 comment:

building regulations part L said...

It is very important that building inspectors initializes and fully understand the complete, up-to date, comprehensive building regulations at the most. It must come with all the essential part of constructing a building, safety measures is a very vital part.