Luton Council warns over risks of using rogue building companies
One firm was fined more than £148,000
Luton Council is urging residents who are getting building works done to do all they can to avoid using poor building inspectors and rogue building companies.
It comes after the council successfully prosecuted a building control firm over flats in Madina House in Downs Road.
Assent Building Control Ltd, whose registered office is in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was the Approved Inspector (AI) for the flats which had received planning approval in 2014. They appointed third party agents, Mr Fatana and Mr Matharoo, to do the inspection work and Assent BC Ltd issued a Final Certificate making declarations on the certificate that it met building control, when in fact the building was sub-standard and non-compliant.
The building work was not complete, the inspectors never had sight of the detailed structural drawings and calculations, no inspection was done at multiple key construction stages, and the building was occupied for over a year prior to the issue of a Final Certificate.
After an 11-day trial, the defendant company changed their plea to guilty at crown court and they were found to have issued the Final Certificate recklessly and ordered to pay a fine of £148,500 and ordered to pay the council costs of £124,946
When making home improvements there are certain steps people need to take including; making sure their building plans are submitted to a Building Control body before the work on site begins so they can be checked. They must also agree with the builder who will be responsible for contacting Building Control to arrange site inspections before they start and ensure checks are made at the regular statutory inspection stages.
It’s homeowners who are legally responsible for ensuring the building works on their property comply with building regulations and the work needs to be signed off by a trusted Building Inspector to say that it complies with Building Regulations. They will then be issued a final certificate on completion. Building inspection can either be done by the council or an Inspector that is approved by the Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register (CICAIR). These Approved Inspectors (AI) must give notice to the council that they are undertaking the role before works commence.
It is only the council’s Building Control team that can take legal enforcement against rogue builders and AI’s and if companies don’t follow the rules it can result in prosecutions.
Nicola Monk, Corporate Director Inclusive Growth at Luton Council said, “Don’t assume that if your builder tells you no local authority consent is needed that this is always the case. Check with our Building Control team yourself if you are unsure – we provide unbiased advice to homeowners and builders to make sure the works comply.
“We will always seek to ensure our residents are safe and will take bold steps in response to harmful breaches as in the case of Assent Building Control Ltd. We hope this will deter other potential AI’s from ignoring the correct procedure and putting residents at risk in the future.”
You can contact Luton Council Building Control Team for advice and you can also report unauthorised or dangerous building works to [email protected]