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|
|General site servicing works (eg roadways)|