BUILDING CONTROL ENFORCEMENT POLICY
The primary function of Building Control enforcement is to protect the public, the environment and consumers. Building works have to be carried out safely and in line with the Building Regulations.
In cases where the Building Regulations are not complied with, the Council may have to take action to ensure that building works are properly carried out.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLYING WITH BUILDING REGULATIONS ?
In the first instance it is the responsibility of building owners to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations. The owners are responsible, together with the designers and builders that the owners may employ.
THE COUNCIL'S APPROACH TO ENFORCEMENT
We aim to provide a courteous and efficient service.
If you make a complaint we will:-
- Write to you to acknowledge your complaint
- Deal with you in confidence
- Nominate an officer as your contact in the department
- Inform you of the date of our site visit
- Inform you of the outcome of the investigation
In dealing with people or companies subject to investigation we will:-
- Nominate an officer as a contact in the Building Control Department
- Write to the person investigated with a summary of the allegations against them, details of any breaches of the Building Regulations, and a clear statement of the steps to be taken to rectify the works
- Help the person investigated to understand how to carryout Building Regulations
- Allow the person investigated time to correct building works before the Council considers taking enforcement action
This policy has been prepared in accordance with the Enforcement Concordat. This means that when carrying out enforcement the Building Control Department will be open about its actions, demonstrate fairness and impartiality, take a consistent yet flexible approach, be considerate to complaints, treat matters with proportionality and assist users wherever possible.
In cases where works contravene the Building Regulations, the Council may consider taking formal enforcement action. Any such enforcement action will be in line with this policy document and the Enforcement Concordat. It is important to bear in mind that formal enforcement is a last resort. The Building Control Department will seek to encourage property owners and builders to comply with the Building Regulations and to reach agreement with all parties on how to resolve a problem before any consideration of formal enforcement action.
- We investigate complaints fairly and impartially
- We take a consistent yet flexible approach to all investigations
- We ensure that the enforcement action that we take is proportionate to the risks
- We give all interested parties the opportunity to comment on any breaches of Building Regulations
- Formal enforcement is a last resort - we aim to reach agreement with all interested parties over how to resolve Building Control matters, and to help all parties to comply with Building Regulations and other related requirements
- We normally only consider formal enforcement action if there are implications for health and safety of the public, or the person investigated has deliberately flouted the law or acted irresponsibly
- Before taking enforcement action we always consider whether it is in the public interest to do so, and will consider the circumstances of the case, and previous history and attitude of the parties involved, as far as the law allows.
ENFORCEMENT UNDER THE BUILDING ACT 1984
The Council may consider formal enforcement action under the Building Act 1984. There are two distinct and separate procedures available under the Act. These are:-
- A prosecution under section 35 of the Act;
- Use of the powers under section 36 of the Act
PROSECUTION UNDER SECTION 35 BUILDING ACT 1984
If an individual or a company (for example a builder or an owner) contravenes any provision contained in the Building Regulations, other that a provision designated in the regulations as one to which section 35 does not apply, that person has committed an offence and can be prosecuted in the magistrates court.
The collection of evidence will usually include a PACE interview of owners and builders, in order to clearly identify the person responsible for the breach of the Building Regulations.
ENFORCEMENT POWERS AVAILABLE UNDER SECTION 36 BUILDING ACT 1984
It is important to note that a section 36 notice is used to take action against an owner of property, not against a builder responsible for the works.
If the council is satisfied that works contravene the Building Regulations then the Council is empowered to serve a notice on the owner of the relevant property to pull or remove the work. In such cases the owner can choose to make alterations to ensure that the works comply with the Building Regulations, as an alternative to the works being pulled down or removed.
The Council also has the power to serve a section 36 notice in cases where the council is expressly required or authorised to reject plans, where works subject to the Building Regulations have started without plans being deposited. There is a similar power where work is carried out after the Council has rejected plans, or where work is carried out that is not in accordance with the council's requirements on approving such plans.
When the Council serves a notice under section 36, the owner has 28 days to comply with the notice. After 28 days the Council has the power to pull down or remove the work, or effect such alterations as it deems necessary. The Council can claim from the owner any expenses reasonably incurred. The owner has the right to appeal to the magistrates court against the serving of the notice.
A notice cannot be given where the work in question was included in plans deposited with the council if the plans were passed by the council, or they were not rejected in time, and if the work carried out is in accordance with the plans or the council's requirements.
It is critical that section 36 notices are served appropriately. In cases where the Council withdraws a notice served under section 36, the person affected may be entitled to repayment of expenses incurred as a result of the notice being served (see section 37 of the Act).
In the event that a person feels that the Council has not acted appropriately in dealing with an enforcement issue that person is entitled to make use of the Council’s Complaints Procedure, details of which are available on the Council’s website or by contacting the Council at the Civic Offices in Cannock.
BUILDING CONTROL CUSTOMER CARE POLICY
The Building Control Service aims to provide a cost effective quality service which will ensure that all building work meets the minimum standards of health, safety, welfare and energy conservation specified by the Building Regulations. The role of Building Control is to act as an independent third party check to help achieve compliance.
PURPOSE OF THE POLICY
The purpose of this document is to set out Building Control’s policy for Customer Service. It is aimed at putting the customer at the heart of everything that we do, understanding our customers and raising the levels of customer satisfaction.
The Building Control Service is provided directly and indirectly to a large range of customers.
Direct customers include those making Building Regulation applications and paying for the service. These are architects, plan drawers, builders, developers, building owners and building occupiers.
Indirect customers include individuals or companies who subsequently own or occupy buildings and visitors to buildings.
Meeting the needs of our customers is the prime objective of the service, working within the regulatory framework to ensure that buildings meet the requirement of the regulations, and that the duties imposed on the service by legislation are achieved.
We will seek the views of customers and will design our service based on the feedback received and we will deliver this as far as possible within the bounds of current legislation and resources
We will ensure that our service is generally accessible at times and places that are convenient to customers, offering a choice of channels whether it be in person, by telephone, by e mail or through the internet
Information we provide in leaflets, forms and the internet will seek to explain the system of Building Control and the requirements of the Building Regulations in plain English
We will measure our performance and publish this
CUSTOMER CORE VALUES
We care about our customers and we want to deliver the best possible service to you. We will:
- Listen to customers and treat them with respect
- Attend to customers as soon as possible
- Ensure customers understand what is happening
- Treat customers consistently and courteously, leaving them with a good impression
The views of our customers are of vital importance to us. Whenever possible we will obtain feedback by speaking directly with customers especially those who frequently use our service. However the main method of obtaining customer opinion will be by questionnaire.
These customers that indirectly receive the service are more difficult to obtain feedback from, so finding out customer opinions concentrates on the direct customers. Also by meeting the needs of direct customers the needs of indirect customers should be satisfied.
There are two types of customer questionnaires:
- Customer Care Questionnaire. A questionnaire will be enclosed with every completion certificate sent to a building regulation applicant, together with a prepaid envelope. These will then be analysed every 3 months and the results reported and discussed at a team meeting. The results will also be collated annually and reported and discussed at a team meeting.
- Customer Care Survey. This is an annual survey of a broad range of customers. These include architects, plan drawers, builders, developers and property owners. These are customers who regularly use the service. The results will be collated and compared with previous year’s results to determine areas where the quality of service has improved or declined. Any separate comments will be separately noted. All results will be reported and discussed at a team meeting.
We will keep in contact with customers who regularly use the service. Opportunities will be taken by staff to informally seek the views of agents and builders and this will be communicated to the whole team.
Meeting the needs and expectations of customers is essential and taking note and acting upon comments received is an integral part of this process.
This section sets out our Customer Promise which is made to all our Customers:
- When you contact Building Control we aim as best we can to deliver on our Promises and Service Standards
- When dealing with you we aim to get it right first time
- We are here to help. If you do not feel we have helped you please let us know and we will respond to your comments
- We will direct telephone calls and e mail requests through to the right person
- We will make sure phones aren’t left unanswered
- We will keep any appointment made
- We will give you the information you asked for and if that’s not possible tell you why
- We will inform you of who is dealing with your application or enquiry
The performance of the service will be monitored via a suite of performance measures:
Number of full plans applications to be determined within the prescribed timescales
Processing - Building notices under 2 days
Full plans applications initial response within 15 days
Inspections - Actual visits made in same day when requested before 10:00am
Public Protection - Dangerous structures responded to within 2 hours
Public Protection - Demolition Notifications responded to within 20 working days
Letters to be acknowledged within 5 days detailed response within 10 days
Processing Initial notices within 5 days
Customer Satisfaction –architect / agent / builder very satisfied or fairly satisfied with service
Customer Satisfaction –building owners very satisfied or fairly satisfied with service
COMMENTS, COMPLIMENTS AND COMPLAINTS
The Council has a Customer Comments, Compliments and Complaints procedure to help customers to comment on all the services it provides. If you have a comment, compliment or complaint then you can contact Building Control directly or via the Council’s Customer Services team.
Telephone: 01543 462621 or
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or
If you would like to know any more about our Building Control Service then please contact:
Paul Beckley – Building Control Manager
Telephone: 01543 464408
Last Updated: 21/06/2018