Completion Certificate woes. (UPDATED)


Postby 51rider » Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:50 pm

Hi, Newbie here to this forum so be gentle with me!

Long story short, back in '99 I applied for planning permission for a single storey rear exetension, replacement garage and storm porch. Approval was granted in 2000 and Building control made first visit to site in May. it was at this point that I had a run in with Thames water and had to redesign the foundations etc.
The next visit to site was in September and follows a fairly routine pattern with the last visit being 24th January 2001.

Fast foward to last Thursday and the house is finally being surveyed for a sale that has been pending since March & the surveyor asks for the completion certificate. No problem says I blissfully unaware that the final inspection has never taken place and we have no certificate.
The surveyor to his credit could see how irate I was and said not to worry and that 'normal' practice was to get a legal liability insurance policy.
So I did! However, because my buyer does not need a mortgage to purchase, it seems that such a policy would not provide adequate cover-any body heard of this before?

In the meantime I've tried to get somewhere with Building Control & they have been as helpful as a chocolate fireguard. Due to the time frame they are not interested in coming to complete the final inspection and have indicated that it is a matter for the individual inspector-since that inspector has left, I fear I'm up the creek!!

What are my options? Offer to pay for a final inspection? Go for an lndependant Inspector, get an appointment with the Head Honcho at local authority and see if common sense will prevail(some hope but you've got to try) I've even had a building Control Inspector from an independant firm have a word on my behalf thinking 'professional to professional' might help out & again we have the cholcolate fireguard level of helpfulness.

Any help much appreciated.
Last edited by 51rider on Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
51rider
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:54 pm

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Postby archtext » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:29 pm

[quote="51rider"]Hi, Newbie here to this forum so be gentle with me!

Long story short, back in '99 I applied for planning permission for a single storey rear exetension, replacement garage and storm porch. Approval was granted in 2000 and Building control made first visit to site in May. it was at this point that I had a run in with Thames water and had to redesign the foundations etc.
The next visit to site was in September and follows a fairly routine pattern with the last visit being 24th January 2001.

Fast foward to last Thursday and the house is finally being surveyed for a sale that has been pending since March & the surveyor asks for the completion certificate. No problem says I blissfully unaware that the final inspection has never taken place and we have no certificate.
The surveyor to his credit could see how irate I was and said not to worry and that 'normal' practice was to get a legal liability insurance policy.
So I did! However, because my buyer does not need a mortgage to purchase, it seems that such a policy would not provide adequate cover-any body heard of this before?

In the meantime I've tried to get somewhere with Building Control & they have been as helpful as a chocolate fireguard. Due to the time frame they are not interested in coming to complete the final inspection and have indicated that it is a matter for the individual inspector-since that inspector has left, I fear I'm up the creek!!

What are my options? Offer to pay for a final inspection? Go for an lndependant Inspector, get an appointment with the Head Honcho at local authority and see if common sense will prevail(some hope but you've got to try) I've even had a building Control Inspector from an independant firm have a word on my behalf thinking 'professional to professional' might help out & again we have the cholcolate fireguard level of helpfulness.

Any help much appreciated.[/quote]
1] I do not t[u]hink [/u]Building Control take any liability for your building work
anyway unless it could be proven they were negligent in their
inspection and even then there is no design responsibility.
2] I don`t suppose you got an Architect`s completion certificate?

3] Practise being pleasant, not agressive, ,go in to building
control at 8.30am and speak to the local officer. If pleading fails ask if
there is a time limit on obtaining a completion certificate.
There should be ,perhaps in the archives department, records of
previous inspections, so maybe the officer can pick up the thread here.
It is not inconceivable that as a self-builder working in your spare time
that it has taken this long to build your extension.
4] If after persistent negotiations, you get a refusal, perhaps you should
ask for it be put in writing so that you can pass this to your solicitor for
action.
5] Building Control certificates don`t stop just because the surveyor has changed, otherwise there would be a plethora of uncertificated buildings around.
6) In your discussions you might ask the building control officer what
should you do to get a completion certificate. Building Control Officers
are usually helpful.
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:24 am


Postby 51rider » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:54 pm

I now have a completion certificate!! ( or will do when Roayal mail get it to me..)

I grabbed the bull by the horns on Monday and rang the LA and spoke to the Director of building control. Whilst I was polite, he did get both barrels and I did query the competance of his staff based on points raised by them that were totally unrelated to my particular project! To his credit he said he would investigate & get back to me the following day.

The following day I received a telephone call from the senior BCO asking to visit site, this was booked for the next day.

Wednesday dawned and I had all the paperwork ready together with an album of photos taken during the construction period. Just after mid-day, the BCO arrived and we viewed his records which even he admitted were woeful. He then identified that all that was missing was the documented inspection and leak testing of the extension drainage run. He advised what we needed to do and arranged to attend site the following day provided the builder could arrange to carry out the leak test.

He then carried out a cursory inspection and reviewed all the photos which proved to be worth their weight in gold!

Thursday arrived and so did the builder! The drainage was suitably sealed and the water level raised so that it backed up to the rodding access next to the kitchen sink. The BCO was contacted and we sat down with a mug of tea to wait. After 45mins, the BCO arrived with trainee in tow and took a look at the water level. He then spent 5 minutes going through some stuff with the trainee before checking the level again and pronouncing that all was OK. The builder then asked him to witness the drain plug being removed-he could then see the volume of water held back by the bung.
The BCO then advised that he was not going to be able to process the paperwork until Friday but we should receive the completion certificate by Wednesday of the following week.

Yee-haa!

I guess the moral of my tale is:
1. Don't listen to the LABC 'helpdesk'-speak to your BCO or the Director
2. Take lots of photos of the construction process, particularly at the key stages-mine proved invaluable.
3. Don't be afraid of taking on the 'system.' If you know you are right, go for it- just be firm but polite and you should be OK.

Good luck to you all. I'm off to have a celebratory pint!
51rider
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:54 pm


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