Monday, 31 January 2011

Building Regs - Did You Know?

I was sent a copy of a letter from a resident of Llanelli, Mr Ray Jones. Apparently, despite previously printing many letters critical of Carmarthenshire Council, the local papers are becoming 'reluctant' to continue doing so. In this correspondence Mr Jones is merely trying to inform residents of the county of recent building regulations of which, it seems, most people are unaware. In fact the couple he refers to in his letter first found out about it when a letter from the council threatening legal action dropped on the doormat. Mr Jones pursued the matter on behalf of the couple, determining that the area was less than 25%, and eventually, after eight months obtained an apology and a full refund for them from the council;

To Letter Editor Llanelli Star/Evening Post;
Residents in Sandy Road, Llanelli re-plastered the front of their home to cure dampness caused by cracks in the wall, arguably caused by heavy vehicle traffic vibration.
Paying £147 for a Building Officer to inspect, he told them there was nothing that could be done to improve emissions loss through the wall and gave them permission to carry on with the original work and contractor.
The contractor knew nothing about the law change, apparently notices only went out to Builder's Merchants, Architects and the like.
The most effective way of informing everybody of the change in the law would have been through the 'Monthly Newsletter' in laymans terms.
On April 6th 2006 a new law, 'Conservation of fuel and power in Existing Dwellings' came into being in the form of an Approved Document L1B, approved by the British government, enforced in Carmarthenshire since May 1st 2009.
'Conservation of Fuel and Power in Existing Dwellings' deals with heat emission loss from homes through three thermal elements.
If you are renovating/repairing any of these three elements over 25% of it's overall surface area, you will need to apply for planning permission from the Building Control Section of Carmarthenshire County Council.
If planning permission is required you will firstly pay a fee for an Officer to inspect and grant the necessary permission. The British government want all old housing stock brought up to a standard to eliminate as much as possible, heat emission loss, yet no grants are available.
Have you paid for planning permission for work to be carried out to a thermal element in your home? Did you really need planning permission?
The Building Regulations step by step;
What is Thermal Element? - it is a surface that directly protects your home from the outside weather conditions.
How many Thermal Elements are there? - Three (the roof, the floor and the external walls)
When do you need Planning Permission? - When more than 25% of any one of these elements needs repair or renovation, double check with your council.
What do you need to do before you check with the council -
1. Measure the area in need of repair/renovation i.e External wall (excluding windows and doors)
2. Measure the total area of the Thermal Element i.e External wall (excluding windows and doors) but do not include outhouses etc.
3. Work out the area of repair as a percentage of the total area and if it is 25% or less then no planning permission is required.
4. Contact the council's Building Control Service manager and complain.
If you are not happy with the response, contact your MP and AM and ask them to look into this issue for you, you could well be entitled to a total refund.
Ray Jones
I have also heard from other residents, and small buiding contractors who have inadvertently fallen foul of new and all encompassing building regs, it appears now essential to contact the council, and, nine times out of ten, pay a fee, before so much as knocking in a nail.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done Ray Jones! He is right, about the Carmarthen Journal, as well - I stopped bothering to write to the Journal when they stopped publishing any of my letters that were critical of CCC. Yet they seem to find space for just about anything else. CCC with their vast advertising budget obviously have them by the 'nads.