When building work does not meet regulations
When we inspect building work and find it does not meet building regulations, we normally first write to the building owner letter listing the points that do not comply (contraventions). The letter is a warning and gives time for the necessary works to be carried out to make the work comply.
If you get a contraventions letter and do not do the work required, the next step may be either a Contravention Notice or an injunction. Which one we use depends on how long it has been since the work was completed.
Where the contravention is particularly serious, we may send a Contravention Notice or issue an injunction straightaway without sending a letter first.
We also have enforcement powers over dangerous structures.
It is against the law to start building work without applying for building regulations approval - if you have done this you must apply for regularisation. Otherwise we can take legal action against the home owner.
A Contravention Notice requires the person receiving it to either pull down or remove work that does not comply with building regulations or carry out additional work to make it comply.
We can issue the Notice to anyone who seems to have control over the work. This includes the building owner, the occupier, the builder; and the person causing the work to be done.
We can only issue Contravention Notices within set time limits, which vary depending on the type of work. To check the relevant time period for specific project, contact the building control team.
What do to if you get a Contravention Notice
If you get a Contravention Notice, you must within 28 days of the Notice being served either:
- do the work required and let us know so we can re-inspect
- contact us to confirm that you will send a written report from a suitably qualified person explaining why the work is not required or recommending alternative work
- appeal against the Notice
If you choose to send us a report, you must then send it to us within 56 days of the notice being served. We will consider your report and may withdraw the Notice if we agree with the points made. If we withdraw the report, we may pay any reasonable expenses you have incurred as a result of the Notice, including the cost of the report.
If you do not take action within 28 days of getting a Contravention Notice
If you neither do the work, contact us about a report, or make an appeal within 28 days of the Notice being served, we have the right to do either of the following:
- organise the work ourselves and charge you reasonable costs for doing so
- enforce the Notice through the magistrate's court
We would normally only do either of these as a last resort - in most cases we are able to resolve issues with the relevant person.
We can withdraw the Contravention Notice at any time by notifying the person we issued it to. We may serve further Notices after withdrawing a Notice.
How to appeal against a Contravention Notice
You have 28 days from the date the notice was served to make an appeal, or 70 days if you choose to send us a written report and we uphold the Notice.
To make an appeal you must write to the Secretary of State, Dept of Communities and Local Government and send us a copy of the letter. The letter must clearly state the grounds of the appeal. .
For more information see Section 36 of the Building Regulations, Building Act 1984
If we become aware of contraventions after the Contravention Notice time limits have expired, we can instead apply to the courts for an injunction for the removal or alteration of work.
Page last reviewed: 14 June 2021
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