What is an Approved Inspector?
In the UK, most construction projects and building work is required to comply with the Building Regulations — the legal minimum standards for design, construction and alterations developed by Government.
This approval is needed to ensure that any new construction work, alterations, or renovations to an existing building meet specific safety, health, and environmental standards. The Building Regulations set out these standards and they apply to most building works, including domestic and commercial buildings. Compliance is essential to ensure that the building is safe for use, energy-efficient, and meets the necessary fire safety, structural stability, and accessibility requirements.
The approval process also involves inspections by a building control body to ensure that the work meets these required standards. Without Building Regulations Approval, a building may not be considered safe for use, and ultimately, its occupants could be at risk.
The responsibility of engaging the building control service to carry out the inspection falls to whoever is carrying out the work on a construction project, typically the building owner or site manager. They must make an application to either a Local Authority or an Approved Inspector.
What is an Approved Building Inspector?
An Approved Inspector is a private sector professional or company that provide an alternative to using the Local Authority. They are licensed and authorised by the UK government to carry out Building Control services. They work with property owners, developers, and architects to ensure that construction projects comply with the Building Regulations.
They can offer a flexible and efficient service that can often provide a more consistent approach with a faster turnaround time.
The roles and responsibilities of an Approved Inspector
Ultimately, the role of an Approved Inspector is to ensure that the construction work meets the required safety and environmental criteria as set out in the Building Standards and that the building is safe and fit for its intended use. They ensure this by carrying out the following roles and responsibilities:
- Checking and approving plans: They are responsible for reviewing and approving construction plans to ensure they comply with Building Regulations.
- Site inspections: They are required to visit the construction site regularly to inspect the building work and ensure it is being carried out in accordance with the approved plans and Building Regulations.
- Liaising with external organisations: The Approved Inspector may need to liaise with the local authorities and other relevant parties to ensure that the necessary permissions and approvals are in place.
- Providing guidance and advice: They can offer guidance and advice on Building Regulations compliance, helping clients to navigate the complex regulations and standards.
- Keeping records: They are responsible for keeping records of all inspections, approvals, and certificates, which may be required for future reference or for resale purposes.
- Issuing a final certificate: Upon completion of the project, the Approved Inspector will issue a final certificate stating that the work has been carried out in compliance with the Building Regulations.
What industries and projects can Approved Inspectors work on?
Approved Inspectors can work on a wide range of industries and projects in the UK and can provide Building Control services for all types of building works for commercial, industrial, and residential properties, including:
- The erection or extension of a Building
- Installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the Building Regulations
- Undertaking alterations involving work that may affect the compliance of an existing service or fitting, whether temporarily or permanently
- Insertion of insulation into cavity walls
- Underpinning the foundations of a building
- Undertaking work on thermal elements, energy status or energy performance of a building
Whether it’s a single-story extension in a residential area, a complex high-rise building in the centre of a city, or a multi-building development, Approved Inspectors ensure that construction works comply with Building Regulations and provide a safe, healthy, and sustainable built environment.
What training does an approved inspector have?
Approved Instructors in England and Wales must apply for a license to the Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register (CICAIR).
The Construction Industry Council (CIC) is an industry-led organisation that works to promote and improve the construction industry in the UK. The CIC Approved Inspectors Register is one of the recognised registers of Approved Inspectors in the UK, along with the register maintained by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
To be included, Approved Inspectors must demonstrate a high level of competence in Building Control services, including expertise in the Building Regulations, health and safety, and environmental standards. They must also adhere to a strict code of conduct and undergo a rigorous audit and re-licencing process every five years to maintain their place on the register.
How do I find and appoint an Approved Inspector for my project?
To appoint an Approved Inspector for your project in the UK, it’s encouraged to follow these steps:
- Determine your Building Control requirements (this will help you to identify which type of Building Control provider is most suitable for your project)
- Check the CIC Approved Inspectors Register for approved providers in your area.
- Check their credentials, experience, and qualifications.
- Seek references from others regarding their service
- Request a quote and compare costs and services.
- Appoint the Approved Inspector by signing a contract or letter of engagement.
It’s important to spend time researching and choosing a qualified and reputable Approved Inspector to ensure that they can deliver the Building Control services you need for your project.
Cook Brown: Approved Inspector in Construction
Here at Cook Brown, we are Approved Inspectors licensed by the Construction Industry Council to provide Building Regulation approvals for all types of construction projects. If you’re looking for independent advice on Building Regulation compliance from the design stage through to the completion of your project, we’re here to help.
Our professionally qualified Building Control Surveyors can undertake design proposal assessments, vetting of design drawings, inspection regimes, and issuing Certification to oversee the Compliance aspects of projects.
Whatever the size or type of construction project, we go above and beyond to deliver exceptional customer service and technical excellence. Better yet, with the help of our sister company Cook Brown Energy, we can offer support to your construction project across all areas of quality, compliance, and sustainability.
If you have any questions about Approved Inspectors or would like to find out more about our UK Building Control Services, feel free to reach out to our friendly team today.