Building control service updates
Coronavirus safe distancing breaches
Report breaches in the working environment to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Building control powers are limited to enforcing Building Regulations requirements. We do not have power in regards to personal and individual actions of operatives on site.
Such matters might relate to the Health and Safety at Work Act and would fall under the enforcement powers of the HSE.
These powers extend to taking action against breaches of safe distancing. You can report safe distancing breaches and any other safety breaches on site using the HSE website.
Report general breaches to Thames Valley Police
Once off-site, everyone is bound by the same social distancing rules. To report a possible breach of coronavirus measures outside the workplace, use the Thames Valley Police's online form.
Building site inspections
Any request for our surveyors to attend sites is being risk assessed.
We will decide whether an assessment can done remotely or by using alternative evidence using the best technology available to share information.
If an on-site inspection is unavoidable, our staff will follow government and council guidance to safeguard their health and safety.
You should continue to contact our office to request inspections as normal, at the stages of work listed, and we will call you back to discuss how best to assess your project.
Safety of our customers and staff
When physical on-site inspections are undertaken please note that:
- any construction staff are asked to wait in their vehicles during our surveyor’s inspection
- any occupants in the building at the time should remain in the building - if our surveyor needs to discuss any elements of the project, they will approach you
- you should remain in your vehicle or property at all times during the inspection unless requested to view the work with the surveyor, at which point you should observe the current 2 meter distancing requirement - a minimum of 2m distance must always be maintained between surveyors and customers
- your surveyor may contact you ahead of the inspection to check the site is clear and may refuse to enter the site if it is not
- our surveyors are not permitted to conduct physical site inspections for elements of construction which would require our surveyors to enter a building, touch surfaces or climb ladders
- clear access should be provided to the element to be inspected - our surveyors are not permitted to pass through elements of a building or enclosed space to gain access, such as to a garage or a covered way
- the access route should be clear of obstructions such as skips or tools which may force our surveyors to come in to contact with objects
When any of the above criteria cannot be met, we may use alternative methods to assess compliance such as requesting photographic evidence, reports or using video conferencing.
Repeat failure to observe social distancing on-site will result in a forfeit of your inspection booking. Should this happen, works on site will be required to stop on that day and your surveyor will return the following day to reinspect. The site should remain vacated of all occupants and site personnel until your surveyor has contacted you to confirm the inspection has taken place and it is safe to return to site. Breaching of the 2 meter social distancing requirement will not be tolerated.
Your surveyor has absolute discretion for their safety on site and failure to make sure your work is inspected may result in our office being unable to issue a Completion Certificate.
Your inspection request
It is important that you still notify us of your inspection request so that we can record it and make an appropriate assessment. Failure to notify us may lead to legal action.
If you are requested to send photographs, please send them to email@example.com.
Our mailbox is limited to 30Mb so you may need to send multiple emails. Sending photographic evidence does not imply approval and you should seek approval from your building control surveyor after submitting the photographs.
Construction and building works may continue
The government has not ordered construction sites to close. Construction work may continue, as long as government guidance is followed. This includes industry specific guidance, which supports safe distancing where at all possible. It also includes the broader restrictions placed on social interaction, which applies to everyone.
This also applies to building works in private homes.
Noise from building works
We do understand that more people are working from home.
Please bear in mind that building works are allowed to take place:
- Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm
- Saturday between 9am to 1pm
A reasonable level of site generated noise, dust and odours may occur during work.
If works are taking place outside of these times, or the work is generating an excessive noise, please contact our Environmental Health Team.
Planning applications and pre-application advice
The planning service will continue to register, process and determine planning applications and, with our legal section, continue to complete Section 106 Agreements.
It will also continue to provide a pre-application advice service.
The main changes are as follows:
- council officers will be working from home and will not be doing face to face meetings or carrying out site visits
- applicants may be asked to provide extra information to assist consideration of the applications (for example photographs or key dimensions or distances)
- telephone discussions or video conference calls may be held for applications and pre-application enquiries - these will be arranged by the case officer
- we are working to establish virtual Planning Committee meetings - we hope to hold the first one end of April or early May
- councillors will not be able to make their normal site visits prior to a committee meeting
- some of the applications which were due to be considered at the postponed March meeting of the Planning Committee are being determined under temporary delegated procedures (please contact the relevant case officer for further information)
The New Local Plan
Officers are continuing to work on the Local Plan including preparing responses to the comments made during the previous consultation, any necessary amendments to policies and further evidence base work.
It is likely that there will be some delay to the published timetable for the Local Plan as it is not clear how quickly some of the evidence base work can be completed during the pandemic.
This will be kept under review and an updated timetable (Local Development Scheme) will be prepared as appropriate. It is unlikely that the Draft Submission Bracknell Forest Local Plan will be published for consultation until after the 31 August 2020.