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Building Control Surveyors


Also known as Building Control Officers, Building Control Inspectors, Building Control Police. Paul Armstrong says he prefers being called a Building Control Surveyor.


Building Control, a Brief History

Started in 1667 after the Great Fire of London, when various Acts came in, in the London area in relation to buildings and party walls, to help ensure that another fire didn't take place.

The 1875 Public Health Act, extended the powers and the remit of the Building Control Officers.

In 1965 saw the first set of Building Regulations in England and Wales . Scotland and Ireland have a similar system. There is also the London Building Act, which is over and above the Building Act, looking at such things as sprinklers.

The Building Regulation is a relatively small legal document, with the approved documents being the government approved way of skinning a cat. The approved documents have tended to get much larger over the years, relating to insulation / thermal efficiency the building was given as an example. In addition to this Building Control Surveyors talk about things being carried out in the spirit of the Building Regulation.

Independent approved inspectors came in in the mid-1990's and carry out many of the same activities as a Local Authority Building Control Inspector. They have to be licensed by the CIC, either on an individual basis or on a corporate basis. Paul Armstrong thought there were approximately 60 or so private Building Control surveying practices / companies, of which approximately 50 were corporate inspectors, the rest being individual inspectors. Paul Armstrong also commented that there were possibly more individual inspectors; as the company had grown had then become corporate inspectors. They way it works is that the Local Authority still keeps the register of all work being carried out, which in the case of a private Building Control Surveyor they advise the Local Authority.


Where do private Building Control companies work best?

It tends to work best for private commercial companies that are looking to role out nationwide, where you can get one set of drawings approved nationwide, rather than having to go to each individual authority. In addition, private Building Control Surveyors very much tend to work as part of the team offering pre-application advice to everyone wanting to get the building built. The solutions, although partly responsible for the design, certainly can have an input.

Local Authority Building Control Officers / Surveyors' forte is dealing with the residential side and their local fees being weighted in this favour, and deal with a lot of residential properties and one off designs, possibly the more technical.


The differences between a private and a Local Authority Building Control Surveyor

A private Building Control Surveyor has no authority to enforce and passes it onto the Local Authority. Enforcement action occurs in about one per cent of all cases. A private Building Control Surveyor will have an indemnity insurance and of course the CIC can take the Licence away.



Regularisation is where work has been carried and has not been to Building Regulations. This can only be done by a Local Authority Building Control Surveyor. Typically, any work that has been finished for 12 months doesn't require Building Control Approval, however the problem comes when the property is up for sale.




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