You may need a building completion certificate if you carry out certain building work to your property.
But what if you didn’t get one?
Or if the work was completed by a previous owner and there is no certificate?
Whether you’re buying or selling a property that doesn’t have a building completion certificate, we discuss your options to save you a lot of hassle and expense.
What is a building regulations completion certificate?
If you carry out certain building work to your property, you will require a building control completion certificate.
It acts as proof that the work that was carried out meets all the required regulations and is safe for the occupants.
If you do not have a completion certificate, you can apply later for one.
If you apply through your local council for this, it is called a building regulations certificate of completion.
If you have your approved inspector, get this for you, it is called a building regulations final certificate.
Are building control completion certificates compulsory?
Yes. If you carry out certain work to your property, you will need a completion certificate to prove the work meets safety regulations along with other requirements.
It is also important to get one as you will need it to sell your home.
Additionally, to this, prior to 2013, there was no requirement for the local authority to issue you a certificate in certain cases.
When you need a building completion certificate
If you are carrying out or have carried out any of the following building work to your home, you will likely need a certificate.
If you know that any of the following building work has been previously done to your home before you purchased it, you will also need a certificate.
- Building an extension
- Converting lofts, garages, or basements into a room
- Any internal alterations of a structural nature
- The construction of a porch or conservatory.
Can you sell a house without a building completion certificate?
It is very unlikely you will be able to sell your home without a building completion certificate.
It does not mean your home is unsafe but there is a risk for any new occupant that it may not be.
It can also mean a new buyer may be responsible for any remedial work that needs done, or if the local authority holds them accountable for unauthorised building work.
What happens if you don’t have a completion certificate?
If you have carried out building work but not received the completion certificate, or if you purchased a home where building work was carried out and do not have a completion certificate, there are several consequences.
Under the provisions of Section 36(6), Building Act 1984, the council can seek a High Court injunction to require the alteration or removal of work that doesn’t comply.
Not only could you face a fine or have to undo the work, it could make it extremely difficult to sell as the new owner would then face this risk.
This could create issues when you go to sell your home that slows down the process. It could also mean new buyers want to renegotiate and give you a lower price, or you risk facing no one wanting to buy your home.
If you are buying a home, it is important to ensure your solicitor checks that for any building work done, there is a completion certificate.
If this is not checked and there is an issue later, you will be responsible for having to pay to fix it as the new owner.
If you don’t declare any work carried out when you go to sell your home, the buyer could take legal action against you for any costs or losses as a result of the missing consent. With the legal action, they could claim legal fees, cost of remedial work, or any reduction in the value of the property.
It can also mean insurance companies may refuse to pay out under any buildings insurance policy if there were no building regulations consent for changes to the property.
Along with all of that, the building may be unsafe and risk harm to any occupants.
Two ways of solving having no completion certificate
There are two options if your property does not have a completion certificate. Applying for a regularisation certificate or getting indemnity insurance.
Both have their benefits and pitfalls.
You can apply for a certificate after the building work has been completed. This is called a Regularisation certificate. You can only do this for any work carried out after November 1985.
It is a retrospective building regulations application.
Fortunately, these certificates can be obtained without taking apart your property but some invasive inspection could be required.
But, if your application is not approved, you face having to take remedial work, face fines, or undo the whole building project.
Applying for a Regularisation certificate will mean paying a fee for this and it will be more costly than other applications. This is done on purpose to avoid the public not getting completion certificates.
If you are selling your home, this is a time-consuming process with no guarantee that you will get approval.
The other way, which is quicker and less costly, is to get indemnity insurance. This policy will cover the new owner of the property against costs and losses as a result of the council carrying out any enforcement action.
If the council asks for building work to be changed or returned to its previous state, the policy would cover the cost of this.
The policy, however, does not cover any substandard work that was carried out.
Who pays for Indemnity insurance?
Either the buyer or the seller of the property can pay for the indemnity policy.
If you are trying to sell your home, it is better if you offer to pay for this in order to sell your home.
If you’d like to talk to us about your building project, contact us today.