When does construction work commence?
Back in 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government (now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) in a letter to local authorities, building control teams, inspectors and fire authorities described that in its opinion “the commencement of work would usually be marked by work such as:
- Excavation for strip or trench foundations or for pad footings
- Digging out and preparation of ground for raft foundations
- Vibrofloatation (stone columns) piling, boring for piles or pile driving
- Drainage work specific to the building(s) concerned”
Just as crucially, the letter went to describe work “not likely to constitute the commencement of work” which listed:
- Removal of vegetation
- Demolition of any previous buildings on site
- Removal of top soil
- Removal or treatment of contaminated soil
- Excavation of trial holes
- Dynamic compaction
- General site servicing works (eg roadways)
The letter went on to describe sites that contain a number of buildings, noting that “the commencement of work on the first of the buildings within the application…determines whether all the building work can take advantage of the transitional provisions, not each individual building.”
Next building regulation changes: Approved Document B
The next transitional provisions period will relate to changes to Approved Document B and fire safety.
The changes take effect on 26 November 2020 for use in England.
The 2019 edition will continue to apply where a building notice or an initial notice has been given to, or full plans deposited with, a local authority before 26 November 2020 and either the building work to which it relates has started before that day, or is started before 29 January 2021.
The changes focus on the following fire safety provisions in blocks of flats:
- Sprinklers: A reduction in the trigger height from 30m to 11m
- Wayfinding signage for the fire service: A new recommendation for floor identification and flat indication signage within blocks of flats with storeys over 11m
More on the amendments to Approved Document B can be found here.