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    • MBP
    • By MBP 12th Nov 17, 11:03 AM
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    MBP
    Should a housebuilder acquire a Building Regulations Completion Certificate?
    • #1
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:03 AM
    Should a housebuilder acquire a Building Regulations Completion Certificate? 12th Nov 17 at 11:03 AM
    Hello everyone,

    Is there a legal requirement for a housebuilder to obtain a Building Regulations Completion Certificate for a house constructed in the UK around 2005?

    The housebuilder in this case is Gleeson Homes, and they have told me that they never acquire these certificates when they build houses.

    But a buyer's solicitor thinks that there should be a certificate, or indemnity insurance if one cannot be produced.

    Gleeson claim the certificates aren't necessary, but have been unable to say what other assurances exist to show that building regulations were followed.

    The whole picture is a bit confusing, and I'm wondering if anyone knows who ultimately has responsibility for showing that the house was constructed according to building regulations.

    Thank you!
Page 1
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 12th Nov 17, 11:21 AM
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    ProDave
    • #2
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:21 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:21 AM
    I only ever bought one new house, in 1986. I never got a completion certificate and when I sold it 3 years later, the buyer did not ask for one.

    I self built my last house and I do have the completion certificate for that ready for when we sell it.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Nov 17, 11:29 AM
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    G_M
    • #3
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:29 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:29 AM
    Yes I believe there should be a completion certifica.

    Many (most?) developers 'self-certify' under the Competant Person Scheme or by an approved inspector

    Might be enough for each element to be signed off - not sure....

    edit: a bit more info:

    Notice must be given to the building control body when works are completed.
    A completion certificate is then issued by the building control body (or a 'final certificate' if the building control body is an approved inspector - although this can be confusing as the term final certificate is also used in construction contracts to refer to completion of the works), providing formal evidence that the building works have been approved and that, in so far as it is reasonable to determine, the works have been carried out in accordance with the building regulations.



    Completion certificates were introduced for building regulations applications in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Even then however, solicitors generally did not consider building regulations approvals in property searches during conveyancing, particularly if alterations were more than 12 months old.



    However, in the case of Cottingham v Attey Bower & Jones [2000], this practice was judged to be negligent. Subsequently, it has become very important to obtain a completion certificate, or there may be difficulties in selling a property.



    Completion certificates became a requirement where buildings were within the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (that is, for non-domestic buildings and blocks of flats). For other properties, completion certificates were only issued if they were requested.



    However, in December 2012, The Building Regulations &c. (Amendment) Regulations 2012 were introduced. This amendment removed the need to request a completion certificate from a local authority and instead required that where a local authority is satisfied that works meet the building regulations, it must give a completion certificate. It also requires that completion certificates are issued within 8 weeks. Ref Communities and Local Government Circular 02/2012 19 December 2012
    Last edited by G_M; 12-11-2017 at 11:55 AM.
    • Pumpkim
    • By Pumpkim 12th Nov 17, 11:56 AM
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    Pumpkim
    • #4
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:56 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Nov 17, 11:56 AM
    We've just had the same situation. The House we are buying was built in 2001 by a well known builer as part of a large development and our conveyancer was attempting to obtain a copy of this certificate as a requirement of our mortgage lender. Despite her best efforts nobody had a copy, the vendor also said it didnt come up as an issue when they bought the place 5 years ago, so it was all a bit confusing. Trying to find it added 3 weeks to the process and then the lender agreed to an indemnity policy.
    • chappers
    • By chappers 12th Nov 17, 6:06 PM
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    chappers
    • #5
    • 12th Nov 17, 6:06 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Nov 17, 6:06 PM
    if you mean the actual, in your mitt, paper certificate then no it's not necessary. Also can yo imagine both a major developer and the local council issuing and retaining the certificates for say a 1000 house development.
    Ask Gleeson's if the works were signed off by the local authority or an approved private inspector.
    If the local authority then you will probably be able to find it by searching on the local planning portal. it will be marked works completed or works satisfactory or similar. if an AI then you will have to contact them.
    Alternatively you could just provide indemnity, it won't cost hardly anything for a works that old. Be careful about actually speaking to either the LA or AI if indemnity is your preferred option.
    Gleeson's won't have sold that property without having the works signed off as their warranty provider won't have sanctioned the warranty without it.
    • MBP
    • By MBP 16th Nov 17, 7:10 AM
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    MBP
    • #6
    • 16th Nov 17, 7:10 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Nov 17, 7:10 AM
    Thank you for those responses. Chappers especially - yes I think indemnity insurance will be the way to go, and I won't mention it to the local council!

    It just struck me as odd that there was no official sign-off. The solicitor's local authority search didn't come up with anything. I agree that thousands of paper certificates would be impractical, and I asked Gleeson if there was some kind of bulk sign-off, electronic certificate, self-certification or any evidence at all of that sort, but they were extremely unforthcoming about it. They ignored that question and just kept repeating, "You don't need it". Actually I thought they were incredibly rude, but that's another story!

    I will go with the indemnity insurance and have done with it. Thanks everyone.
    • MBP
    • By MBP 5th Dec 17, 10:41 AM
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    MBP
    • #7
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:41 AM
    • #7
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:41 AM
    Hello again,

    In case anyone's still reading, I thought I'd post the interesting resolution that I've had to this issue.

    There is a single certificate covering all the properties in a certain phase of the housing development, including mine.

    I found this out by eventually getting in touch with the local council's building control - I didn't have to mention my house number, just the phase number of the development, and they came up with the certificate. They charge about £17 for a copy.

    The council said that a certificate like this wouldn't show up in a local authority search for a single property. I have been on a mini-mission to tell everybody associated with the house sale about this, because it's something that everyone involved in conveyancing really needs to know!

    The council told me that the housebuilder would have requested the sign-off and that I should have received a copy of this certificate from them when I bought the house. But I'm not surprised I didn't, because Gleeson doesn't even seem to know that it exists - they told me they "never have and never will" issue completion certificates. I'll tell them what I've found out, but I doubt they'll listen.

    If anybody reads then and is having a problem with the lack of a completion certificate for a newbuild house, all I can suggest is to try to find something like a phase number for the development and contact the local council with this information to see if they can produce a certificate (but perhaps avoid mentioning the house number if possible, because of the risk to indemnity insurance).

    Thanks again for everyone's previous responses.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 5th Dec 17, 10:45 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #8
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:45 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:45 AM
    That’s a brilliant thing to come back with, thank you.

    It has come us many times over the years and no one has come up with the actual solution, other than knowing that it must be covered somewhere. I think many solicitors don’t ask as I think it does end up as part of the warranty, but many do. I’m not entirely sure if it’s needed or not as solicitors aren’t trained on where PP and BC certificates are needed.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 5th Dec 17, 10:51 AM
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    G_M
    • #9
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:51 AM
    • #9
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:51 AM
    Very useful.

    I'm sure this subject will come up again when some buyer demands a certificate from some seller who was the original owner.
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