This Fact sheet is about complaints about Building Control. It should be read together with our ‘How to Complain‘ webpage, available on the ‘Making A Complaint’ tab.
Building control refers to the requirement for supervision and control of building work, and services carried out by a local authority or approved inspectors. The main function of building control is to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations under the Building Act 1984. The purpose is to make certain that minimum building standards are met to protect the health and safety of persons in and around buildings. The Ombudsman can only look at a council’s role in Building Regulation applications and Building Control issues. He cannot consider complaints about the work of approved inspectors who can be employed by developers to carry out the building control function (although only a council, as the Building Control Authority, can issue a completion certificate).
He can look at:
He cannot look at:
The landowner or developer has the ultimate duty to ensure that the structure built complies with Building Regulations.
Any approval notice or completion certificate issued by a council is not a guarantee or warranty. They reflect the reasonable steps it should have taken to inspect the works.
The courts have held that local authorities undertaking their Building Control function are not responsible for any economic loss resulting from their actions.
The site inspection function of a council is not a substitute for the supervision of the project. In other words, it does not act as a Clerk of Works and it is advisable to employ an agent to oversee a development, particularly as the council is not responsible for the standard of work of the builder.
Information on Building Regulations can be obtained at www.planningportal.gov.uk
The Council’s own website may also contain information on Building Control matters.
The Ombudsman is independent and impartial; he cannot order public bodies to do what he recommends – but, in practice, they almost always do. Examples of cases that the Ombudsman has looked at can be found on our website, on the ‘Publications’ tab under ‘Our Findings’ & ‘The Ombudsman’s Casebook’.