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How are Building Regulations enforced?

Building regulations are a topic where there is much debate. Just how much power is given to those whose job is to enforce these regulations? How much can you be fined for disregarding these? This article discusses this in more depth.


However, they do not have enforcement powers. In a situation where they consider your building work does not comply with the Regulations, they will not issue you with a final certificate and will cancel the initial notice by notifying your local authority.

If no other approved inspector takes on the work, the building control service will automatically be taken on by your local authority. From this point on, your local authority will also have enforcement powers to require you to alter your work if they consider this necessary.

If a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the local authority or another person may decide to take them to the magistrates’ court where they could be fined up to £5000 for the contravention, and up to £50 for each day the contravention continues after conviction.

This action (under section 35 of the Building Act 1984) will usually be taken against the builder or main contractor, although proceedings should be taken within six months of the offence.  Alternatively, or in addition, the local authority may (under section 36 of the Act) serve an enforcement notice on the owner requiring them to alter or remove work which contravenes the regulations. If the owner does not comply with the notice, the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs from the owner.

You can’t be served with a section 36 enforcement notice more  than 12 months after the date of completion of the building work,  but this does not affect a local authority’s (or any other person’s)   right to apply to the courts for an injunction for the same purpose.

A local authority also can’t take enforcement action under sections 35 and 36, if the work which you have carried out is in accordance with your plans which the authority approved or failed to reject within the statutory time.

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