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What is Building Control?

Ghyll Grove, Winscals When new buildings, extensions or alterations are being considered, most people automatically assume that Planning Permission will be required and whilst this is often true, there is usually much confusion in the public's mind between Planning and Building Control. Whether or not Planning Permission is required, the work will, in most cases, have to satisfy national Building Regulations and it is this function that is termed 'Building Control'.

Whilst Planning relates to 'use zoning' and aesthetic design, Building Control is mainly concerned with the administration of the Building Regulations which control such matters as structural stability, means of escape in case of fire, structural fire precautions, resistance to moisture, sound and thermal insulation, stairways, drainage and access for disabled persons, amongst other things. This form of control ensures that buildings will be safe and will not pose a health risk to the occupants. It also ensures that buildings will be thermally efficient and accessible to disabled persons.

Control is exercised principally in two ways, i.e. by the submission of plans to the Local Authority and by the inspection of work on site, although an increasing number of projects are now dealt with under a simplified procedure called a Building Notice whereby control is wholly exercised on site.

In addition to dealing with Building Regulations, most Building Control sections also undertake a range of other duties, e.g control of dangerous structures and demolition, safety of sports grounds, street naming and numbering etc, although these functions may vary from Authority to Authority.

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