May 1, 2020
The current situation presents unprecedented challenges for building control. We have outlined some key points from the guidance:
It is not always possible for building owners to deposit plans prior to starting work. It is recommended that local authorities issue regularisation certificates as quickly as possible in such situations.
Local authorities have the power to relax Building Regulations requirements in some situations, encouraging a pragmatic, flexible approach, so long as that does not compromise essential health and safety requirements.
The use of “virtual” or remote inspections where physical site visits are not possible and issuing partial completion certificates where appropriate if it allows a building owner to occupy a property on which work has stopped.
For all building work being carried out during the outbreak, building control bodies should, where possible, check regularly with those carrying out the work including its current status and any plans to continue work.
The government guidance also recognises that it may be difficult in the current circumstances for local authorities to meet the statutory deadlines but stresses that local authorities should continue to assess deposited plans on their merits and ensure also that the Fire and Rescue Services continue to be consulted in good time where plans cover buildings in scope of the Fire Safety Order.
Similarly, Approved Inspectors should ensure that:
The statutory requirements to consult with fire and rescue authorities and sewerage undertakers continue to be met
That adequate time is allowed for the fire and rescue authority and sewerage undertaker to respond
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