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Building control FAQs

The health and safety of our staff, our customers and community are our top priorities and at the heart of all our decisions. For this reason, we have put together some Q&A's to help reassure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure 'business continuity'. If your question isn't answered here, then please contact one of our business support team on: 01303 853538 or email: building.control@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

Please read the recent guide on working safely Icon for pdf COVID-19 Building site operating procedures updated [363.4KB]

How will the service continue to run in the current situation?

We use a cloud-based operating system and work remotely (from home). This includes answering calls and emails as well as processing and plan checking applications and booking and updating records. Our Building Control Specialists are familiar and experienced with working in this way normally and hence we are fortunate not to have to make adjustments.

As the situation changes with infection outbreaks and restrictions we have had to consider alternatives ways of making site inspections at some times and we may invite you to submit photographs and other information by email for our assessment and records.

We are currently only making site visits for critical external works such as foundations excavations and oversite preparations prior to concreting.  However please note:

  • any persons present must respect the 2m social distancing rule
  • If this is not the case we will not carry out the inspection
  • We will not carry out site inspections on properties where occupants are in self - isolation. You must advise us if this has become the case since requesting the visit and before 9.30 on the day of the inspection

We currently carry out internal inspections wearing masks in unventilated spaces within any occupied buildings for such stages as thermal insulation, roof structures, and completion of works.

Photo evidence of these stages should in the first instance be submitted by email with information of materials used and their relevant thickness/sizes etc.
We suggest you discuss with your agent and contractor(s) their own contingency plans.

Guidance on site safety has been issued for all building sites and also published on our website.
Work should not continue where these essential health and safety measures are not in place.

If work is continuing on site, you should ensure that you or your contractors are able to keep in touch with us by phone or email and keep a record of works by digital photos as either peg or PDF files submitted by email.

What services are being carried out?

All our statutory services are currently being delivered and include:

  • processing applications
  • plan checking full plans applications
  • inspecting/accessing publicly dangerous structures
  • processing of Building Notices
  • Initial Notices
  • Demolition Notices, and
  • Competent Person records

Can I still submit a building regulations application?

Yes, we are working as normal and the easiest and quickest way to submit an application 
After creating your application, you can then attach any plans, information or calculations and pay online if that is your chosen method of payment.

This information updates in our back office in real time so that we can begin the validation process soon after.

Can I call into the council offices to speak to you about my project?

Please do not call in person to council offices as they will be closed to the public unless they have a prior appointment or there is an essential need to contact us in person.  (This could change so please check here for up to date information.)

How will you communicate with me during the lifetime of my application?

We work almost entirely electronically so please ensure you add email addresses and mobile numbers for both the agent and applicant.

Are surveyors still plan checking applications?

Yes, all Full Plans applications will be plan checked by our building control surveyors who are used to working with onscreen plans and any calculations will continue to be checked by our Building Control Specialists.

Will my project be fully inspected throughout the build process?

Please remember that the onus is on you and your builder to notify us if you are unsure about any issues of compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations or when a site inspection is sought and that a satisfactory final inspection will be needed in order for us to issue a completion certificate.

We aim to defer final inspections to a later date when we are able to enter occupied buildings to carry them out.

What measures are you taking to ensure the health and wellbeing of your staff who come into contact with me or my builder?

We are following Government and our employer's advice on safe practice to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our own staff and customers.
Our surveyors will adhere to the guidance around social distancing, including not shaking hands and maintaining a distance of two metres from you.
Will also be asking screening questions before our surveyors attend any site visits.

What if my builder has to pull off site mid-way through my build or cannot start my project for a prolonged period?

A building regulations application remains valid from three years from the date it is was 'validated' (when the application and correct fee are received.)
Provided you start work* within this three year period, your application will remain live for as long as you need it to.

*If you or your builder are unsure what constitutes 'work started' please discuss this with us.

It is worth remembering, that if you complete the project but do not request a final inspection of work within ten years of the last inspection we will not be able to issue a completion certificate even if the work is satisfactory.

If the Covid-19 outbreak continues do you have business continuity plans in place?

As our service is part of the largest building control service in England and Wales , we will be able to draw on the support and assistance of neighbouring LABC teams should we need to.

Ideas and Inspiration

Finally, we all probably need to take a break from the news now and again and if you are looking for ideas or inspiration for your next home improvement project, the LABC website has a homeowners section with more advice.

 

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