Changes to Building Control procedures from 1 October 2023

Updates to our processes

The Government has recently published legislation to implement the new regime for Higher Risk Buildings (HRBs) and other changes to Building Control processes in England.

What is changing?

1. New building control regime for Higher Risk Buildings (HRBs)

The Building Safety Regulator becomes responsible for providing Building Control in England on all new HRBs (defined as seven storeys plus or with a floor over 18m from ground level which contains two or more residential units or is a hospital or care home). From 1 October 2023, you will be unable to choose NHBC for your Building Control for a new HRB or any work to an existing HRB. Instead, you will need to apply directly to the Building Safety Regulator. An overview of the changes can be found here and details of how to make an application can be found here.

Transitional provisions for HRBs

The transitional provisions for moving to the new regime are:

  • an Initial Notice must be given to a Local Authority (and not be rejected), or full plans must be deposited with a Local Authority (and not be rejected) before 1 October 2023, and
  • work must be ‘sufficiently progressed’ by 6 April 2024
    • this means, for a new HRB, placement of permanent foundations has started (with the pouring of concrete for the trench, pad or raft foundations, or permanent placement of piling)
    • for building work to an existing HRB, a material change of use or a conversion of a non-HRB to an HRB, work must have started before 6 April 2024. You must notify the Local Authority within 5 calendar days that work has commenced and provide a copy of that notice to NHBC.

If the above are satisfied, the HRB will not be subject to the new regime and can continue to be overseen by NHBC.

If the above are not satisfied, then the HRB will transfer to the jurisdiction of the Building Safety Regulator and come under the new regime.

Any HRB work remaining with NHBC will require the Final Certificate to be provided to the Building Safety Regulator to allow occupation of the building.

2. Changes to the Building Control regime for non-HRBs

There are also significant changes that will apply to all other types of construction, including:

  • new responsibilities for dutyholders involved in the commissioning, design and construction of works subject to The Building Regulations 2010
  • new definitions for commencement of work
  • automatic lapse of plans after three years for work which has not commenced
  • new requirements for information and notifications to be provided to Building Control bodies when making an application and throughout the construction project.

When do these changes come into effect?

These changes came into effect on 1 October 2023, with transitional arrangements until 6 April 2024. They do not apply to Initial Notices accepted before 1 October 2023, if work on site commences before 6 April 2024.

How does this affect NHBC processes?

1. Registration of a new Initial Notice (IN)

From 1 October 2023 you will be unable to choose NHBC for your Building Control for a new Higher Risk Building (HRB). If your Initial Notice includes an HRB, then we will not be able to submit the Initial Notice. Any Initial Notices which include a HRB issued by NHBC to a Local Authority, would be grounds for rejection. Our Customer Services team will contact you to discuss removing the HRB from the Initial Notice.

When submitting a new SNIN to NHBC and requesting us to provide Building Control, you must also:

  • provide information in respect of the client if that is not you
  • confirm that none of the work relates to HRBs (seven storeys or more or a height of 18m or more)
  • confirm the proposed date of meeting the definition of commencement for each plot (Proforma 16E: Intended commencement of work declaration can be used for this purpose). Register a new site | NHBC

Please be aware that if you do not provide the information listed above, we will be unable to serve your Initial Notice.

 2. Notification of dutyholder

The name, address, telephone number, email address and date of appointment of the principal contractor and principal designer must be provided to NHBC within 14 calendar days of appointment.

If any of the dutyholders change then NHBC must also be notified including the date the appointment ended for the outgoing dutyholder.

A new proforma Regulation 16D Notification of dutyholders is available for customers to declare the dutyholders to us for each site. At the start of each site your surveyor will issue the proforma to you to complete and submit to us.

3. Notice before starting work and further notice once work has commenced

The person carrying out work must notify NHBC:

  • at least two days before the day on which building work starts on each plot
  • not more than five days after the day on which the work is considered commenced (in line with the new definition of commencement*)

These notifications are in addition to any notifications to request inspections.

*The definition of commencement

Complex buildings1

Work is to be regarded as ‘commenced’ in relation to that building or the first stage of building work for that building when the foundations supporting the building and the structure of the lowest floor level of that building are completed (but not the other buildings or structures to be supported by those foundations).

1complex building” means -

a building which is to be constructed on the same foundation plinth or podium as any other building or structure;
a building which has more than one storey below ground level;
a building where it is proposed use is primarily as a public building where the public or a section of the public has access to the building (whether or not on payment) provided that the building has a capacity of 100 or more visitors.

Non-complex buildings and horizontal extension of a building

Commencement is considered to be completion of the sub-surface structure of the building/extension. This includes ALL of the following stages:

  • all foundations ​
  • basement levels (if any) ​​
  • the structure of ground floor level.​

Any other building work​

Work is regarded as commenced when the initial work is completed. ‘Initial work’ amounts to 15% of all work described in the Initial Notice. Our portals are currently being updated to allow customers to submit these notifications online but, as an interim measure, customers are requested to make these notifications directly to their NHBC surveyor. Proforma 16B Notifications can be used for this purpose and the site surveyor will provide the proforma at the start of the project.

4. Compliance declaration

Before requesting a Final Certificate, the client must provide us with a notice of dutyholder compliance and competence. This must be provided before the plot can be finalled for either warranty or Building Control.

A new proforma Regulation 16E Notification of completion of works is available for customers to provide the declaration to NHBC on each site. At the start of each site your surveyor will issue the proforma to you to complete and submit.

Any further changes to NHBC processes will be communicated via further updates.

Please note these changes do not apply to Wales as the new regime for HRB and Building Building Control are yet to be implemented.

Who should I contact for more information?

Please contact your surveyor or Technical Operations Manager if you have any queries about any of the changes to NHBC processes.

This summary was produced by NHBC as guidance as to how we interpret and apply the most recent statutory changes to the Building Control regulatory regime. This summary has not been created or intended for distribution or use outside of that purpose. The information contained in the summary does not constitute advice and is not to be relied upon by any third party. Nothing in this summary is intended to, nor should it be taken to, create any legal or contractual relationship. Any third party who chooses to rely upon the information contained in this summary shall do so entirely at their own risk and NHBC accepts no duty of care or liability, however caused, in connection with its use or reliance by any third party.

Watch this webinar on the changes to Building Control procedures from 1 October