Independent Approved Inspectors vs Local Authority Building Control

Abel Hinchliffe

When developing your new-build home, you’ll need to show that your project conforms to building regulations. To do this, you’ll have to send technical drawings of your property for building control approval.

You can either be given approval by independent building control inspectors or by your local authority building control. So, which is the best option for you?

What is building control?

Your building needs to align with the current statutory building regulations. These building regulations are a set of requirements that ensure any new construction is safe for habitation. This can include regulations for foundations, drainage, ventilation, fire prevention, and many other issues. Building control ensures your self-build meets these criteria.

You’ll need to commission technical drawings of your planned property, showing that it meets all the requirements. Your architect will usually prepare this for you, but other contractors may also need to be involved, including structural engineers and drainage surveyors.

Then, you’ll submit your drawings, either to the local authority building control or to an approved inspector for building control.

Approved inspectors vs local authority building control

So, what’s the difference between an approved building inspector and the local authority building control. Though there are many similarities, they also differ in several key ways...

The process

An approved inspector is classed as private building control, and must be registered with the Construction Industry Council (CIC). CIC approved inspectors also need to have full insurance cover in place.

The approved inspector will need to submit an ‘initial notice’ to inform your local authority about your intention to develop a construction. At this point, they’ll be able to transfer the building control responsibilities over to your inspector.

As part of their work, CIC approved inspectors will scruitinse and approve your technical drawings along with any information from contractors, make visits to your project site, give advice to you and your building team, and provide a ‘final certificate’ as evidence that your project meets the building regulations.

When working with the local authority building control, the process will be much the same, except you’ll apply to them directly. They will then take care of the process, providing you with a ‘completion certificate’ upon approval.

Speed and quality

These are the key factors that most self-builders are concerned about. Unfortunately, with so many people looking to develop, you might find you’re stuck with a much lower standard from the local authorities. They’re often overstretched, meaning they spend less time on your project, which can often take months to be approved.

Meanwhile, approved building control inspectors are more likely to take care with your project – and have a far faster turnaround, often giving approval within a matter of days.


It’s a common misconception that the local authority is naturally less expensive. In many cases, independent building control inspectors charge around the same price, or even cheaper. Do your research and shop around before making your choice.

Develop your home with award-winning architects

At CODA Bespoke, we have over 40 years of collective experience creating luxury residences for our clients. As architects, we have the expertise to develop your dream self-build property – including help with the technical drawings for building control approval.

To learn more about what we do, check out our extensive portfolio of new-build homes, extensions and residential developments. Or, if you have any questions for us, get in touch with our helpful team.

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Abel Hinchliffe

With a wealth of experience Abel heads up CODA Bespoke, specialising in luxury residential developments both large and small. Recently entrusted with the responsibility of also heading up Studio 4 which is currently delivering numerous office to residential developments. Connect with Abel Hinchliffe on LinkedIn >

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