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Building plans, with a calculator, hard hat and keyboard; our Conveyancing Solicitors in Preston discuss why Building Regulations are important in your property purchase.
At MG Legal, we understand that there are different things to consider when progressing through the conveyancing process, one of those being Building Regulations and how these may impact the property you are purchasing. Your Conveyancing Solicitors in Preston, Lancashire, are on hand to discuss the importance of Building Regulations and answer some common questions they receive. 

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What are Building Regulations? 

Building Regulations are a prescribed set of standards, developed by the government and local authorities, that dictate the standard which certain building – and other- work must meet in properties. In essence, the Regulations stipulate that the works must be safe and meet a specific set of criteria, in order to be Building Regulations approved. 
Builders or other contractors carrying out works to a property should be registered within a Competent Person Scheme. If the contractor is registered, this means they are an approved trades person whose work is recognised as meeting the standards set out in accordance with Building Regulations. They should also be able to advise you on providing or acquiring evidence that the work complies with Building Regulations, by way of a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate. 
Not only are Building Regulations evidence that the works have been approved, but they can also provide guarantees for the works, in the event that there are any issues. This will be particularly important when selling a property as these guarantees may extend through the buyer’s period of ownership and would, therefore be of use. 

Why are Building Regulations important? 

‘Buyer Beware’ is the general rule within conveyancing, therefore, your Conveyancing Solicitors in Preston will raise the necessary enquiries to ensure you are protected when purchasing your new home, paying particular attention to Building Regulations. In addition, Conveyancing Searches, which you can read more about here, should also reveal any Building Regulations Compliance Certificates that have been issued against the property you are buying. This means that if any work has been carried out which does not comply with Building Regulations, or at least no certificate has been issued confirming it does, should be revealed. Essentially, your Conveyancing Solicitors are ensuring the safety and integrity of the property being purchased. 

How do you know whether building works are compliant with Building Regulations? 

The results of the Local Authority Conveyancing search are of particular interest at this point, to your conveyancing solicitors in Preston. The Local Authority report has a designated section called the ‘Building Control Applications Register’ which details various entries for works that have been carried out at the property. 
These can include, however, are not limited to: 
Electrical installation, 
Installation or repairing of a central heating system, 
The replacement/installation of new windows and doors. 
The fact that the works have been entered within the Register, as revealed on the search, is evidence that they have been carried out by fully qualified contractors with Building Regulations Approval. Nevertheless, your conveyancing solicitors in Preston would always request the relevant compliance certificates for your records, if these are available. It is worth noting that, when copies are not available, the fact that such certificate is listed in your search results is usually sufficient proof for your records that the work was compliant. 
Your Conveyancing Solicitors would also consider the Property Information Form, completed by the sellers. The sellers here have a duty to disclose various information about the property, including details of any works that may have been carried out, during their ownership and to their knowledge before they purchased the property. Upon considering this form in detail, your Conveyancing Solicitors in Preston would raise enquiries to determine whether the works are Building Regulations compliant, and request any relevant certifications and guarantees- especially if no certificates are revealed in your search results. 
It is important to note that some works do not require Building Regulations approval, for example, the replacement of light fittings. Your conveyancing solicitors will recognise which works should be approved and when evidence of compliance is required. 

What if Building Regulations approval has never been obtained? 

If Building Regulations Approval cannot be provided, in the first instance, the seller should revert back to the person who carried out the work and request that they provide the relevant approval documentation to forward on. 
If, however, the seller is unable to provide such evidence, your Conveyancing Solicitors would request that an indemnity insurance policy is put in place to cover against any potential issues/claims etc. in relation to the works, usually at the expense of the seller. Whilst such a policy does not cover any issues with the work, if a fault was found at a later date, it would cover the costs of defending or remedying any action that the local authority or other body take to enforce Building Regulations. 
It is important to always ensure that Building Regulations Approval is obtained, when required, for works carried out at a property. In particular, if there are ever any issues with the works, there would be no guarantee or warranty which could cover the costs of repairing the same. Furthermore, the local authority may also demand payment for the faulty works carried out to be rectified. 
For more information on Building Regulations, or the conveyancing process as a whole, contact our specialist team of Conveyancing Solicitors in Preston for assistance today on 01772 783 314, or email us at

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