Failure to comply with the Building Regulations
If you do not follow the building control procedures set out for handling your building work or you carry out building work which does not comply with the requirements contained in the Building Regulations you will have contravened them.
Enforcement Notices & Fines
The local authority has a general duty to enforce the Building Regulations in its area and will seek to do so by informal means wherever possible.
Where an approved inspector is providing the Building Control Service, the responsibility for checking that the Building Regulations are complied with during the course of your building work will lie with that inspector. They will usually do this by advising you. However, approved inspectors do not have enforcement powers. Instead, the regulations provide that in a situation where they consider your building work does not comply with the Building Regulations they will not issue you with a final certificate and in addition will cancel the initial notice by notifying your local authority. If no other approved inspector takes on the work, the Building Control Service will automatically be taken on by your local authority. From this point on your local authority will also have enforcement powers to require you to alter your work, if they consider this necessary.
If a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the local authority or another person may decide to take them to the magistrates' court where they could be fined up to £5000 for the contravention, and up to £50 for each day the contravention continues after conviction (section 35 of the Building Act 1984). This action will usually be taken against the builder or main contractor, and proceedings must be taken within two years from the completion of the work. Alternatively, or in addition, the local authority may serve an enforcement notice on the owner requiring them to alter or remove work which contravenes the regulations (section 36 of the 1984 Act). If the owner does not comply with the notice the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs of doing so from the owner.
A section 36 enforcement notice cannot be served on you after the expiration of 12 months from the date of completion of the building work, but this does not affect a local authority's (or any other person's) right to apply to the Courts for an injunction for the same purpose. A local authority also cannot take enforcement action under section 36 if the work which you have carried out is in accordance with your plans which the authority approved or failed to reject within the statutory time of five weeks (or two months with your agreement) from deposit of the plans.
Impact on Selling the Property
Notwithstanding the possibility of enforcement action, you should bear in mind that if the local authority considers that building work carried out does not comply with the Building Regulations and it is not rectified, the authority will not issue you with a completion certificate and the contravention may come to light through a local land search enquiry when you wish to sell your property.