Building work on commercial developments
Before you start any work to your property, you should:
- check whether you need building regulations approval and, if you do, apply for and get building regulations approval
- check if you need planning permission or other planning consents and obtain them as necessary (building regulations approval and planning permission are completely different - if you apply for planning permission, you still need separate approval from us that your work meets building regulations)
- consider the Secure by Design principles in any new housing development as this can contribute toward achieving planning permission and compliance with approved document Q of the building regulations
- consider whether the Party Wall Act 1996 applies to your proposed building works and, if so, serve the appropriate notice (the requirements of the Party Wall Act are a civil legal matter between you and your neighbour and Lambeth has no role to play in the administration of the Act)
- tell your neighbours about any work that you’re planning to carry out (although they don’t have a right under building regulations to object to the works, there could still be implications for their property and/or disturbance during construction)
Submitting your application
Building works to commercial properties require a full plans application. You must send in your application before you begin any work, and ideally, a full plans application should be sent at least five weeks before the work is due to start.
When you are ready to make your application, you can apply for building regulations approval.
Your application will most likely require the payment of an application fee. For commercial applications we recommend you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, including a clear description of all of the works that you intend to undertake, their location and the estimated cost of the works.
If you wish to submit your application on paper rather than online, then you will normally need to send in two sets of plans. In some cases, we will need more copies of the plans, but we'll let you know if this is the case. We'll use your plans to assess your proposed works and to consult with other authorities in the borough, for example, fire and water authorities.
What happens after you submit your application?
Within three working days of receiving your full plans application, we will send you a letter to confirm that we can process it. We will then assess your plans and if they meet the building regulations, we'll issue you with an approval notice within five weeks. You are advised to wait for this before you start work.
Please tell us in writing at least two days before you start any work. We will send you a pre-printed 'commencement notice' that you can use to make it easier for you to let us know. Further inspections will also be required and our surveyor will discuss this when they meet you or your builder.
Whatever type of application you make, we will inspect the work in stages while it is being carried out and we will give building regulations approval when the work has been finished, to meet the requirements of the regulations.
When the work is finished, our surveyor must carry out a final inspection. The surveyor will then make sure that all the paperwork is complete, and that all the work complies with building regulations. All of the application fees must have been paid too, otherwise a completion certificate will not be issued.
There is no charge for the first copy of a completion certificate with a commercial full plans application. If duplicate certificates are needed, we will charge you for them.
If you submitted a full plans application and your plans are rejected, you may submit another set for us to review, and you have a right to appeal. If you resubmit revised plans for the same work within three months (known as a re-submission of plans), you will not have to pay the application charge again. After this time you will need to pay another charge.
Altering the means of escape in case of fire
Where altering the means of escape in case of fire, we recommend that prior to the submission of your formal application, you email us at email@example.com with copies of your existing and proposed floor plans. We will then advise you in respect of your project's compliance with the regulations or any alterations that will be needed when you come to submit your full plans application.