The Inspection Process
This facility uses a Partnered Approved Inspector combining the statutory Building Control function with the Warranty Audit to review the build as it progresses.
The Approved Inspector who, from the start of your project will undertake the Building Control function on your behalf will communicate and work with you, serving the Initial Notice to your Local Authority Building Control Department through to the auditing process and conclusion of your build.
If your build has already started and you are using one of our Partnered Approved Inspectors as your Building Control Body, we can still progress and start the Warranty Audits.
If the build has completed and you are looking to take out a Warranty, then we can utilise the Partnered Approved Inspector and undertake a Completed Housing survey.
The process varies from project to project but firstly a Plan Check is undertaken and once the build starts, a number of site visits are undertaken at the key stages detailed below.
Depending on the type, size and stage of your build the Approved Inspector will conduct a number of Key Stage Inspections and/or general inspections throughout the construction phase. Please note that not all stages detailed below will require a visit as this is very much dependent on the type of project/build.
In relation to visits, where the project has not yet started, there are typically four key stage inspections to complete on a new build project and these are detailed below. Additional visits may be included due to the size, type, stage and programming of your project.
Normally you will be advised what inspections will be required for your project by the Approved Inspector who may provide you with a visit plan.
Please bear in mind that the AI/Surveyor will no doubt have busy diaries and will require reasonable notice to attend site (this could be up to five working days).
If as a result of a failed visit or at a requested visit, the project is not ready for inspection, the Approved Inspector may charge you for the wasted visit.
It is crucial that all Inspections are conducted at the correct time and it is YOUR responsibility to arrange for these visits to be undertaken at the correct time.
If stages are missed then this may have implications for the Approved Inspections and the Warranty provider. You may be asked at your own expense to open up completed works to show any missing elements. The Warranty provider may elect to exclude certain elements of the build from the Warranty or even decline to offer cover at all.
First Inspection - Foundation Excavations
This inspection should be co-ordinated to ensure that the Surveyor arrives at least two hours in advance of the pouring of concrete as sometimes a certain amount of trimming or de-watering of the trench bottoms may be required before any concrete is poured. It is important to bear in mind that if the foundations are to be “pulled” in stages including underpinning, then this should be discussed with the Surveyor as soon as possible to agree a schedule for any additional inspections required.
Sometimes a pre-start meeting is held to discuss the project and to undertake some basic site investigations in order that the foundations can be designed and percolation tests undertaken.
Invariably this initial visit is the first opportunity for the Surveyor to fully discuss the project with you in person and comment on when they are likely to want to undertake future visits in line with your proposed build.
It is important that if a Plan Check has not already been done by this stage, that a set of Construction Plans is made available to the Surveyor to enable them to carry out or complete the check to make sure all the Building Regulations/Building Standards and Warranty requirements have been met.
Obviously if anything is identified at this time it can be discussed and solutions agreed to avoid any delays or abortive work. If any issues are identified during the course of construction, then these will be advised at the time of the inspection and confirmed to you in a Remediation Notice issued shortly after the visit. These should be addressed as soon as possible and evidence provided to the Surveyor in order that the issue can be cleared.
During the build it is essential that all underground drains are seen laid on a suitable bed and surround. Falls and lines are also checked so ensure they discharge to the outfall point and all new connections are made correctly. It is at your discretion (but good building practice) if an air pressure test is conducted at this stage in order to identify any potential leaks prior to covering the drains but in any event, Warranty providers will require a test of all of the drainage system upon completion of the works.
The inspection of the drainage system is not normally a key stage visit for a Building Control Body so if inspection of the drainage is not undertaken during the key stage visits, then you will be responsible for providing evidence that the drainage system has been checked/inspected by a fully competent and insured person. Without independent evidence, the Warranty is likely to be endorsed insofar as the Warranty will not cover damage to the system or may not be issued.
Second Inspection – Damp Proof Course/Damp Proof Membrane and Over-site Preparation
To prevent damp ingress at ground level the Damp Proof Course (DPC) will normally be inspected together with the Damp Proof Membrane (DPM) where appropriate.
If a Ground Bearing Slab is proposed, the compacted fill and DPM will need to be inspected prior to the concrete being poured.
If a suspended slab is utilised such as a beam and block floor, the design must be approved and a number of blocks left out temporarily to enable a full inspection of the void. Provision for effective cross-flow ventilation should also be seen.
At this stage, it gives the visiting Surveyor time to discuss the remaining programme of inspections with you and to firm up the proposals for the superstructure and the remaining schedule of the build.
Third Inspection - Roof On & Scaffold erected
Depending on the build, a visit may be required shortly after the superstructure is started around the “first lift” and again at “wall plate” level by the auditing surveyor. A clean and clear cavity should be free from mortar droppings with correctly positioned insulation together with appropriately fitted cavity trays, these are vital in preventing the horizontal ingress of moisture. It will therefore be necessary to inspect the cavities at these stages to establish their condition and the timing for this visit should be agreed with the Approved Inspector.
For the Warranty inspection stage a visit should be planned at a stage where the roof finish has been completed but the scaffold is still in place to enable safe access to review the roof system as a whole and any fenestration which has been installed. This visit should be planned to enable the auditing surveyor safe access to review the roof system as a whole and any fenestration which has been installed. Due to the programming of works with most builds, with the roof on, work may have progressed “internally” including the start of the electrics and the carcasing of internal walls.
In the unfortunate event that any remedial works are identified to the roof or the wall construction, this will provide sufficient opportunity to rectify any faults and provide guidance for the remaining construction.
If your build includes a timber frame system to form the main structure, the visit should be planned for when the frame has been erected and the roof finish has been completed, ie the frame has been “loaded”. Again the scaffold should still be in place to enable the auditing Surveyor to fully review the roof finish, the insulation and any fenestration which has been fitted. A further visit will then be taken shortly afterwards to review the start of the waterproof envelope.
Here the visit is designed to review the start of the external cladding. Where applicable, a clean and clear cavity should be free from mortar droppings with correctly positioned insulation, wall ties correctly fixed through the tape to timberwork behind, and appropriately fitted cavity trays. If a board and render system is proposed, then the Warranty provider will require type approval via an Agrément certificate.
This visit could be encompassed in the Stage 5 visit.
Fourth Inspection - Pre-Plaster
This inspection provides an opportunity to inspect the “Skeleton” of the build whether the build is of a traditional construction or a timber frame kit it utilised.
Structural elements such as floor timbers, beams and the roof timberwork together with ‘First Fix’ (electrical and plumbing installations) should be exposed prior to them being covered up. It is also an opportunity to discuss the requirements that must be satisfied before the Approved Inspector will be able to conduct the final visit stages including the Completion inspection.
For more complex builds such as conversions, extensions or refurbishments, large or long term builds the Approved Inspector may require additional visit(s) at this stage of the build to review other aspects of the superstructure. A visit may indeed be requested at around the second fix and is more commonly called the pre-completion visit.
Final Inspection – Completion
All works should be complete and the commissioning and completion certificates obtained. These may include but are not limited to HETAS, Gas Safety, Electrical, SAP, Sound and EPC. If any of your build includes an element of tanking or flat roofing, a financially adequate 10 Year Insurance Backed Guarantee for the materials and workmanship will be required by the Warranty provider.
During the final visit, the Approved Inspector will review the build as a whole and may ask for additional information concerning the build including photographs and any as built drawings etc. Safe access will be required to review the drainage system and access into any loft voids.
If any Contravention or Remediation Notices have been issued during the project these should have been cleared by this stage. If there are further issues brought about by the Approved Inspector as part of his final visit, these should be addressed as soon as possible. Any issues which remain outstanding, may delay the issue of the Building Control Completion Certificate and acceptance and ultimately provision of the Warranty.
It should be noted that some of these items may only be related to the Warranty and whilst the Building Control Certificate can be issued, it won’t necessarily mean that a Warranty certificate can be issued until all of the issues have been addressed.
Once all of the Certificates have been obtained and the Approved Inspector is satisfied, then they will be in a position to issue the Building Control Completion Certificate and complete their Technical Audit. They will then confirm to BZSS allowing us to issue our Technical Audit Assessment Certificate resulting in the Warranty being issued.