We were contacted by the estate agent on behalf of their client, who was having difficulty selling their basement apartment. This was because structural alterations in the vendor’s lower ground floor property had not received proper building control sign-off from the local authority.
The building works, which had included the removal of a major wall, had been professionally undertaken some years previously. A structural engineer and architect had been used and the Local Authority was notified. However, a completion certificate had not been issued for the works. A completion certificate is proof that the building work has been inspected by building control and is safe. The purchaser’s solicitors were concerned that the alteration works might not be compliant with building regulations and could be potentially unsafe for the purchaser.
Our service and advice
The structural works in the flat had been undertaken fifteen years previously, which we deemed to be a reasonable test of time. We, therefore, made a visual inspection of the vendor’s property and did not disrupt the finishes by removing plasterboard ceilings to expose the underlying skeleton structure. There were no signs of any distress cracking and no other defects had occurred since the removal of the wall, so we concluded that the building was entirely safe.
Our structural engineer’s specific defect report gave confidence to the vendor and purchaser, and their respective solicitors, that the property’s structure was safe, and the sale was able to proceed without further delay.
The key learning point is you will require Building Regulations approval if you intend to carry out new structural building works or major alterations to your property. Then when the works have been completed, a building control completion certificate should be obtained.
If you would like advice on any structural aspect of a property, we are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.