What to do if there are no Building Regulations in place

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Posted by Robert Hopps | September 10th, 2018

What happens if you buy a property and find out that work undertaken has not had Building Regulation approval?

We often inspect property that has had structural and other alterations that have taken place. When this is the case we always recommend that the purchaser undertakes enquiries through their lawyer to obtain copies of all necessary paperwork including building regulation approval and certification. Sometimes a client will come back to us and state that the vendor I've never obtained building regulation approval or purchase the property and does not have relevant paperwork. This does pose a concern, the greatest of which is that the works that have been undertaken have not been done to a satisfactory standard and are therefore potentially dangerous.

In this blog we will take a brief look at what to do if this is a scenario you encounter.


The first question to ask is whether or not the building works did indeed require building regulation approval. Some internal alterations certainly do not require approval such as fitting a new kitchen or bathroom, replastering and decoration and some minor internal alterations. There are however a great deal of works which do come under the remit of building control and as such individuals should have gone through formal process either through the local authority or via an approved inspector. An approved inspector is a private individual who is licensed to formally sign off on building regulation matters and will provide certification in a similar manner to a building inspector through the local authority will.

If works undertaken and neither a council inspector or an approved inspector attended or indeed were engaged and there can be far reaching consequences such as a court order to ask such portions of work to be opened up or indeed removed where they are felt to be of concern. This must always be borne in mind when deciding to proceed with the purchase however there is an alternative, that of regularisation.

This is a process whereby a retrospective approval can be obtained by making the necessary application however this does not apply to works which were undertaken prior to October 1985. An approved inspector or building control officer from the council will issue a certificate of regularisation where the works are straightforward and easily accessible to inspect however this can be more complicated if the works are concealed as inspector will not be able to confirm works are undertaken properly. Therefore in order to obtain regularisation certification for complex works bearing in mind that there will be a cost associated and that this could be relatively high dependent on the nature of the works in order to fully inspect and of course there will be a need to make good on completion.

It is often been said that the process of regularisation is a double-edged sword as what could initially seem to be a simple process of obtaining paperwork can then involve fair amounts of construction work.

At The Hopps Partnership we endeavour to inspect works so far as is reasonably practicable to assess their condition and therein provide you with advice on the structural stability of portions of the property as well as a condition of any other items which would fall under the remit of the building regulations such as the electrics, windows and loft conversions to name but a few.

Our building surveying team will provide you with a thorough overview of the condition of the property you are looking to purchase, feel free to give us a call for further information.

The Hopps Partnership
Second Floor, 34 - 40 High Street
Wanstead, London E11 2RJ

The Hopps Partnership
70 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6EJ

020 8502 6323

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The Hopps Partnership