What is “work started”? Building control compared to warranty requirements

Recap: how transitional periods typically work

When building regulations change it is normal for a transitional period to apply, during which time the existing regulations continue to apply to works already planned or in progress.

Typically, amendments will not apply to building work where a building notice or initial notice has been given to, or full plans deposited with, your Local Authority Building Control, by a defined date, providing that building work has started before a subsequent defined date.

For example, Approved Documents F (ventilation), L (conservation of fuel and power) and O (overheating) the deadline date for submitting a building notice, initial notice or depositing full plans is June 15 2022, and building work must start on that individual building before June 15 2023. Approved Document S (electric vehicle charging) the transitional provision relate to building work generally not each individual building with the same cut off dates of 15 June 2022/3 respectively.

Building regulations and transitional periods

How is “work started” defined?

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities lists a series of construction details that in its opinion marks the commencement of work. These details were repeated in their circular letter dated December 15 2021.

These details relate to a building control function. From our warranty perspective, additional requirements must be taken into consideration if plots are to be started and left for up to a year.

Please note that there may be restrictions in your terms and conditions that once works have started they need to be completed within 3 years.

The table provides a side-by-side comparison of DLUHC’s definitions and LABC Warranty’s corresponding requirements.


DLUHC’s definitions of work commenced Related warranty considerations
Excavation for strip or trench foundations or for pad footings. Strip foundation - the durability and mix of the concrete needs to be suitable for the elements, the whole foundation for the plot must be excavated and concrete laid
Digging out and preparation of ground for raft foundations. Rafts – would need to have frost resistant concrete and increased cover for the reinforcement. Ground reduction and backfill with granular material ready for a raft is a sufficient start.
  Engineered granular fill - seek advice from our engineering department.
Vibrofloatation (stone columns) piling, boring for piles or pile driving. If a site is piled, all the piles to the plot must be installed. Any exposed steel will need to be suitably covered if it is to be left for a length of time. There should be limited site traffic around the area. All piles will still need to be validated in line with our guidance.

Vibrocompaction –
the whole plot/site would need to be completed and left without further excavation. Testing would need to be completed and a survey of “as built” so they are not lost.

If we have contiguous piles for a basement the piles can go in but the basement must not be excavated until continuous work are to happen.
Drainage work specific to the building(s) concerned. Installing drains – not suitable for piled or vibro sites as the foundations must go in first.
DLUHC’s work details not likely to constitute commencement of work Related warranty considerations over details that do not constitute work commencement
Removal of vegetation As stated, plus MMC – an offsite commencement is not a commencement – so even if the modular/panel has been built offsite it is not a commencement.
Demolition of any previous buildings on site
Removal of topsoil
Removal of treatment of contaminated soil
Excavation of trial holes
Dynamic compaction
General site servicing works (eg roadways)


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Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual.

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