For approximately the past 15 years it’s been possible to gain Building Regulations approval using an Approved Inspector and it’s become a more popular choice for good reason…
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What is an Approved Inspector?
By using an Approved Inspector you are essentially ‘going private’. So rather than applying to your local authority, you would hire this independent consultant to ensure your project meets the Building Regulations. They will issue your certificate at the end of your project, which proves that your development is compliant. This will be requested by the solicitors when you come to sell your house.
When should I hire an approved inspector
Clients will usually wait until after planning permission is granted before hiring an Approved Inspector. This is a point in the project where the outline design work is complete.
However, it’s worth discussing this with your architect. If the outline principles of your proposal are potentially contentious or complicated in terms of meeting the Building Regulations, it would be worth involving your Approved Inspector at an earlier stage in the design process.
What does an Approved Inspector do?
- They will review your proposal in detail.
- They will find potential issues that clash with your design, and work with you and your architect to find innovative solutions.
- They will make regular visits to site as construction progresses, and certainly at the key project milestones.
- They will issue a final certificate of compliance.
What are the advantages of using an Approved Inspector?
- Flexibility – Approved Inspectors offer flexibility and creativity to meet your development objectives and help you to achieve full and total compliance.
- Choice – Although there are some incredibly helpful Local Authority Building Control (LABC) officers, you won’t have a choice about who is appointed for your project. By going private, you are in the privileged position of being able to choose your Approved Inspector. Some Approved Inspectors have specialist knowledge and experience with a particular sector or construction method, which may prove very useful depending on your project’s requirements. It’s also common for an architect to recommend an Approved Inspector with whom they have a good working relationship. In design and construction, it’s widely regarded that a great team goes a long way to ensuring a successful project.
- Save you money – Approved Inspectors are commercially aware, and can play a significant role in helping you reduce your building costs. They can play a vital role in ‘value engineering’ exercises – in other words, suggesting creative solutions that will save you money, but still ensure compliance.
- Speed – Depending on how busy your local authority are, you may find it faster to work with an independent inspector who may be able to turn things around quicker.
- Insurance – Unlike LABC officers, Approved Inspectors must hold professional indemnity insurance.
- Assured high level of competency – Approved Inspectors have very strict code of conduct and competency requirements which are audited and enforced rigorously.
How much does an Approved Inspector cost?
Approved inspectors may not cost much more than Local Authority Building Control (whose application fees vary between approximately £650-£1600 depending on the complexity of your project). It’s worthwhile getting Approved Inspector quotes and comparing it to the local authority fees that will be published on your council’s website.
Get professional advice
The above is mentioned as an introductory guide only. Discuss your options relating to building control compliance with your architect.
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