There seems to be a lot of confusion by the smaller home builder on the role of the Local Authority in respect to the contractor’s main business which is building houses for their clients.
The Building Services Department receives many calls a month on what the responsibilities of each party are. In order to resolve this confusion, the following are the general duties of the Local Authority (Building Inspectorate).
In terms of section 7 of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act of 1977, a local authority is required to ensure that any application to erect a building complies not only with provisions of the act but also with and other applicable law such municipal bye laws relating to town planning. A department in any Local Authority would be the Development Planning & Building Inspectorate. This department is responsible for approval of plans to new buildings, alterations and additions to existing buildings or structural changes. Without approved plans in place no construction work should take place.
It is a requirement that the local building control officer makes various inspections before the building process starts and during the building contract period. Some Local Authorities differ in their interpretation of the requirements of the act however the inspections would normally include the following:
. Foundation excavations must be inspected before the placing of any concrete. . The surface bed preparation and soil poisoning . Drainage installation . Roof compliance . Plumbing installation generally . Electrical compliance . Fire installation
The following certificates must be submitted to the Local Authority before an Occupancy Certificate will be issued:
. Engineers stability certificate for foundations, structure, roof and retaining walls. . Soil poisoning certificate . Glazing Certificate . Plumbing and drainage certificate . Electrical Compliance certificate
It is imperative that every building contractor develops a good working relationship with the Local Authority in which he carries out his business in order to facilitate co-operation between all parties.