What is the difference between private and council building control?

Whether you are embarking on a new build or looking to extend your home, you will require a structural designer to put together technical drawings for your project if you live in the UK.

According to government regulations, a professional must approve these drawings to ensure that they comply with building regulations. You can either have your local building control or an approved inspector approve your drawings.

What is the difference between these two professionals and which option is best for your home? Keep reading!

What is a private approved inspector?

The first option is to have your technical drawings approved by an individual or organisation registered with the Construction Industry Council (CIC). The CIC approves which inspectors can officially operate in the UK.

Private approved inspectors will generally provide you with advice regarding your new build or home extension plan; assess all the information you submit; and issue a final certificate.

Although you are choosing to use a private inspector, you will still have to notify your local authority regarding the project you intend to build by submitting what is called an initial notice. Upon submission, you’ll need to specify that you plan to use an approved private inspector. Your local authority will then assign the inspector responsibility for the verification of building regulations.

Private inspectors are required to have certain insurance in place to keep both you and your property safe in the case of malpractice. They are also required to renew their approval every five years.

What is local authority building control?

The second route to have your technical drawings approved is to submit them to your local authority. Your local authority has a department that it operates called building which specialises in upholding building regulations that are specific to the location of your new build.

The department then grants you a completion certificate – the same certificate you would receive from a private approved inspector.

Your local authority will follow very similar procedures to those of an approved inspector. They would also held to the same set of standards.

What’s the difference?

The difference between these two professionals varies depending on where you live and which inspector you select.

With many councils facing budget cuts, a number of local authorities are no longer able to offer the same level of personalised service that an approved inspector can provide. You might also find, while dealing with the local authority, that they are working with a large influx of applications and may take longer to process and approve your application.

In some cases, it can take up to eight weeks for your local authority to approve your technical drawings, whereas a private approved inspector can offer you a turnaround time of a few days. While a private inspector is an attractive option, it is important to keep in mind that the inspector must be approved to benefit from their faster services.

Price is another differentiating factor. Depending on the size, complexity and location of your project, your application fees to the local council could range between £650 and £1,550. In many cases, this makes council building control a cheaper option. However, many private inspectors charge a similar price, if not cheaper.

If you would like expert advice regarding your new build or home extension project in London, contact us.