Do I need a completion certificate for building work in my house?
Why is it important to have a completion certificate for certain types of construction work in your house? Here's why...
A completion certificate ensures building work is safe
It's simple - if construction work doesn't have building regulations approval, the building could be structurally dangerous. When building control surveyors carry out inspections on your property they'll go through stringent checks, assessing things like:
- ground and floors
- roof structure
- structural stability
- thermal insulation
- fire protection
- damp proofing
Only once the surveyor is satisfied with the work they'll issue a completion certificate which proves the building work on the property meets building regulations and is safe. You can find out more about getting through the process in our 5 steps to building regulations approval page.
Additional work may be costly without building regulations approval
If the council discovers that building work on your home, or other property, doesn't meet the building regulations they could take enforcement action against you within 12 months of the date the work was finished. This will require you to carry out alterations or even removal of the work, causing a great deal of disruption and inconvenience. If you don't take the necessary action, the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs from you since you're the property owner.
Properties without a completion certificate sell for less
In general, a house that has had a considerable amount of work done without building regulations approval will sell for less. The absence of a completion certificate can deter buyers because there is an element of uncertainty and fewer guarantees that the building work is safe and meets the quality standards set in the Building Regulations (2010).
Completion certificates show up in local authority searches
Local authority searches, also known as local land searches, are conducted by conveyancing solicitors or mortgage lenders and they're an essential part of the home buying and selling process. If you're selling your property the information found from these searches, including missing completion certificates, can be used by buyers to renegotiate your offer. This could lead to a deal falling through – the last thing you want at this stage.
Mortgage lenders need to know the details
If you're looking to take out a mortgage to buy a property, you'll need to let your mortgage lender know if the property has had work done which requires building regulations approval. If there's no completion certificate it introduces an element of risk for the mortgage lender and they'll most likely need some form of protection from the risks.
Buildings insurance may be invalid without a completion certificate
It's important to remember that if there's no building regulation approval for alterations to your property, your insurance company may refuse to pay out under the buildings insurance policy you've taken out with them. Therefore, when it comes to repairing or rebuilding the structure of your home because of damage from an unfortunate event such as a fire or storm, you might end up having to cover the cost yourself.
Peace of mind
All in all, having a completion certificate is a win. As a house buyer, seeing home improvement work accompanied by a completion certificate will make you feel at ease knowing that building work has been officially approved, it is structurally stable and safe to live in. What's more, you can rest assured that the house is in good condition and won't need expensive alteration or repair work later down the line.
When it comes to selling your home, construction work that comes with a completion certificate issued by a building control body will no doubt work in your favour by instilling confidence in buyers, agents, mortgage lenders and insurance companies alike. The whole process should be less problematic – allowing you to move swiftly on and start a new life elsewhere!
See our other popular pages about building regulations approval
- 5 steps to building regulations approval
- Where can I get a copy of my building certificate?
- Do I need building regulations approval for my loft conversion?
- No building regulations approval? What's the solution?
- Why is building control important?