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Roofer hasn't notified building control, work still in progress


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Hi All – I really hope that someone can give me some good advice.

 

My wife is the executor of her late mothers estate which includes a property (built 1950).  Whilst preparing the house for sale, we noticed that light was visible through the roof (when standing in the loft space).  We engaged with a company who seemed reputable, had good reviews and were an approved member of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors.  They attended and conducted an inspection, concluding that the membrane was failing through age, particularly along the inside of the ridge, some tiles were damaged and there were some water leaks adjacent to the chimney - They quoted for the following works:

 

1, To Strip ridge tiles from the main roof area, also approximately 1 metre of roof area front and
back of ridge line.
2, Supply and fit new breathable felt membrane along with new treated roof battens, to the affected
area to provide a water tight barrier. repeat this work beside chimney stack.
3, Supply and fit new lead soakers to chimney flashing.
4, Re-bed ridges and replace Any broken / damaged tiles.
Total fixed cost £2750

 

Because of the desire to sell the property and the fact the contractor was able to 'fit it in' as a relatively short term job a week or so later, we confirmed acceptance of the quotation and scaffolding was erected front and rear on Monday.  The contractor and his colleague attended site on Tuesday and commenced work by removing the ridge tiles - A short time after the contractor approached me and advised that the roof was in a worse condition than anticipated.  He provided images of the battening toward the lower edge of the roof that was clearly rotting and in poor condition, and the roof tiles were very worn. 

 

The contractor suggested that he could perhaps do similar to what he was doing along the ridge at both the front and rear of the property but recommended that a better solution, particularly in view of the fact we were about to market the property, would be to replace the roof at a cost of between 15-20K as this would have their own 20 year workmanship guarantee but, more appealingly, this would be backed by the Confederation of Roofing Contractors 10 year insurance backed guarantee.  It was stressed that this insurance backed guarantee was only applicable to a complete roof replacement and would cement the value of the property.

 

Whilst in retrospect it may have been a poor/rash/hasty decision, because we want to sell the property quickly, we decided that a recent roof replacement was a positive attribute when marketing the property and, as the contractor was offering to try and rearrange other work to enable him to complete the replacement quickly and seemed to be bending over backwards in his efforts to assist her with what we now perceived to be a significant issue with the property.  He made a number of phone calls to try and confirm material availability and pricing and then advised the job would cost a little over £18K.

 

Some materials (battens and roofing tiles) were delivered late that afternoon.  He called in the evening to confirm if the materials had been delivered and when we confirmed they had, he advised that he had been able to agree with some of his other clients to juggle their jobs to allow him to put a full team of around 8 onto our job.   They attended early on Wednesday and commenced the removal of tiles and battens from the roof on the rear of the property, laid a new membrane, and fixed new battens.  Work continued on Thursday (yesterday) to do the same to the roof on the front of the property. 

 

Yesterday evening, a little concerned that I had panicked into this and the cost of the job was excessive (although I was not concerned paying a premium of a quality job done quickly) and that the condition of many of the stripped battens did not look too bad, I did some web research and it was at this point I discovered that if more than 50% of the roof is to be replaced it requires notification to building control and that the site should be inspected. 

 

We immediately contacted the contractor to ensure that he had this in hand but he firstly advised that he had assumed the estate agents had this in hand (we explained that the property hadn't been listed but having thought about this, as we were only anticipating a repair, even if the property was already listed there would have been no expectation or anticipation that regulatory permission would need to be applied for).  He then advised that we would be responsible for any application but that it isn't really necessary as the 10 year insurance backed guarantee was more effective and it was just a box ticking exercise.

 

Having continued to research this today, in addition to checking the quality of materials and workmanship, I understand that one of the requirements that is triggered by the roof replacement is an upgrade to the insulation in accordance with Part L.  The contractor has not mentioned anything about additional insulation.  I also understand that, when we come to sell the property, a completion of works certificate will be required (although, as the work has commenced without notification to LABC, I assume it may instead require a Regularisation certificate).  The contractor was not on site today, but has indicated that he will return on Monday and hopes to complete the job by Wednesday of next week.  I am now massively concerned that the work has commenced without notification and I am exposed to potential additional costs and risk.

 

I am not sure if I have both a Building Control and a Trading Standards issue here but the immediate priority is to address the building control aspect and ensure that any work that is done does not affect the saleability of the property. I have contacted the Building Control department of our district council (via email earlier today as it doesn’t seem possible to get them on the phone) explaining all of the above and asking their urgent advice on how to progress. 

 

I suspect that, in addition to the application fee (which I believe attracts a premium as work has already commenced) there is going to be a need to establish how upgraded insulation can be applied to the loft space (which is boarded) and the costs associated with that.  Currently it looks as though the membrane is all in place along with the battening on the rear and around 75% of the battening on the front.  I figured there was no point delaying trying to contact building control as at least everything is currently visible (having understood that if its inspected after completion they may need to remove elements, make changes etc) and I would rather face problems now than when we try to sell.

 

Currently I haven’t paid anything to the contractor (he hasn’t requested anything) but in the absence of any contact back from Building Control today and with the expectation that the contractor will arrive at site at 8.30 on Monday I have no idea what to do. 

 

I am stressed beyond belief, I feel physically ill – I appreciate that I should have known better, things moved quickly, I felt I was making reasonable decisions based on the information I had but I am now worried sick that I currently have no tiles on the roof, the prospect of additional costs (which will be hard to meet) and a house that’s not saleable without a completion certificate. 

 

What would people do in my situation?  

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sorry ...but whenever i see the word ROOF my spider sense goes off..., you always know its gonna end in the roofer stating you need a complete new one....urm...

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Yes, I agree with the above comment.

It's encouraging that you haven't paid anything yet – and you probably shouldn't at all.

If these people are competent and experienced roofers then they should be aware of these regulations.

One thing to point out is that their 20 year guarantee – is only worth anything for as long as they as a training company continue to exist. If they stop trading, for instance if they are a limited liability company and they wind themselves up then your guarantee is useless.

Guarantees are only worth anything if they are insurance backed. Once again though you need to be cautious. Lots of people fall for a marketing path that a guarantee is "insurance backed" – but they never actually asked to see the policy or to get a certificate or two double check with the insurer to see that the work is being carried out is really covered.

You should always make sure that a guarantee is backed by insurance, that you see the insurance policy. That you receive a certificate of insurance. That you contact the insurer in writing and tell them exactly what you are being sold and get confirmation that the work which is being carried out is indeed covered by that insurance for all the likely risks.

The 10 year guarantee by the professional body is probably a bit more useful – but you need to check this as well and make sure you've got written confirmation of it.

It doesn't sound good that you are dealing with a company that first of all is extending its view of the amount of work that needs carrying out – secondly doesn't seem to have contemplated the need for this planning control – thirdly seems for some reason or other that the estate agents should have it in hand.
Have you checked with the estate agents – even if you are not with them yet to ask them about this? I can imagine that they will say that they have no idea and it's not something they normally do

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Maybe you should phone their professional body and see what they have to say about the building control and what they would expect from one of their members who are properly exercising the standards required by that professional body.
Apart from looking at the website of the professional body, you should be calling them first thing Monday morning.

I would certainly be careful about allowing them to start any work which will effectively interfere with the roof cover that you already have because if they ended up removing part of the roof and then you fell into dispute with them so that the house was open to the elements, you might then have a very difficult problem

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Are you sure it needs authorisation from building control?

 

We live in a terrace of listed buildings and our next door neighbour had their roof redone about three years ago.  I know they didn't have anything from building control and they successfully sold it in January this year.  I also know there were some issues with it (work that had been done that needed planning agreement because of its listed statement and that they hadn't sought - they ended up having to replace an original sash window) but there were no questions about the roof.

 

Also, if daylight was visible from inside the roof and some of the battens were visibly rotten, I'm not particularly surprised that the whole roof may need redoing.

 

 

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Firstly – Thanks for the responses. 

 

With regard to the need for BC sign off, according to the planning portal, if more than 25% it needs approval (I don’t know where I got 50% from) – I should point out that it seems more related to compliance with Part L (to do with energy efficiency) and increasing the insulation for the roof.  Specific bit from the planning portal says:

If you want to carry out repairs on or re-cover less than 25 per cent of the area of a pitch or flat roof, you will not normally need to submit a building regulations application. You will need approval, however, if:

  • You are replacing/repairing more than 25 per cent of the roof area, in which case, the roof thermal insulation would normally have to be improved

It seems this has been the case since 2006 – LABC for Kent have this on their website:

We are receiving more and more reports about builders and roofing contractors who have recovered roofs but have not involved Building Control. In the majority of cases we found that the reason was that contractors were not aware of how the changes in the Building Regulations affected their work.

Prior to 5th April 2006, Building Regulations approval was only required if you were changing the material of your roof covering. This was to ensure that your roof’s structure could safely cope with the weight of the new roofing material.

Since 5th April 2006, most new roofs are required to apply for Building Regulations approval, even if it is a like for like replacement that is being installed.

 

I am hopeful that this means the review of the roofing work is (relatively) a formality – I was concerned about the potential costs of upgrading the insulation to Part L but this actually looks quite straightforward (if you do it at joist level, 100mm of glass fibre insulation between the joists with another 200mm run at right angles across the top of it with no gaps – regs actually say 270mm of insulation but I cant find any insulation that would add up to that figure!).  Its relatively inexpensive stuff.

 

Interesting that nothing was raised about your neighbours  roof - its good that it didn’t affect their sale and you’d think it would have been picked up if it was an issue.  I am hoping this is all a panic over nothing but a roof isn’t something you’d normally tackle yourself and it’s a pretty key bit of the structure – the fact that it’s the insulation improvements that seem to be the focus may be why the roofer considers it a box ticking exercise.  Hopefully I will actually manage to talk to building control tomorrow.

When you read stuff like they can give you 28 days to remove, rectify, bill you to rectify etc it’s all a bit of a concern.. All very stressful….

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I just thought I would give an update on how things have transpired. 

 

Spoken with the Local Authority Building Control earlier today.  They had a pleasingly relaxed attitude to the issue, confirmed that the works did require notification to BC but that they weren't really interested in the roof aspect, it is the element that is triggered by this work,  the requirement to upgrade the insulation in accordance with Part L. 

 

He pointed me in the direction of their website and said that I should complete a Building Notice application (very straightforward on line form) confirming the scope of works, pay the fee  which relates to 'Upgrading of thermal elements (walls/roofs)' (£216 inc VAT). 

 

Because of COVID restrictions, they aren't conducting any site visits that would require them to enter habitable spaces (strange choice of term but I got his point) so I'll need to confirm the spec of the breathable membrane (which is Tyvec) and then once the insulation has been laid, if I send them photographs showing it laid, with a tape demonstrating the depth then he sees no issue with them issuing a completion certificate.

 

Thanks for those that have provided their input and hopefully the above may be of use to someone in the future (at the very least it might raise awareness of the requirement!).

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Thank you for updating your thread, I am sure it will be very useful to anyone else finding themselves in your situation.

 

Very pleased to hear that your stress levels have reduced and the process seems pretty straightforward.  

 

 

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