Name: FAQs relating to our building control service following COVID19 outbreak
Description: FAQs relating to our building control service following COVID19 outbreak

FAQs relating to our building control service following COVID19 outbreak

With the ongoing anxiety around Coronavirus (COVID-19), and uncertainty around changes to local/national restrictions and lockdowns, we would like to reassure you that here at Dartford Building Control we are working closely with our employers, Dartford Borough Council, to ensure we are prepared to respond to ongoing developments.

The health and safety of our staff, our customers and community are our top priorities and at the heart of all our decisions. For this reason, we have put together some FAQs to help reassure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure ‘business as usual’ as far as practically possible.

If your question isn’t answered here, then please contact one of our customer service team on: 01322 343434, email building.control@dartford.gov.uk or you can contact us via our online form.

How will the service continue to run in the current situation?

We are very fortunate to be fully capable of working remotely (from home).  This includes answering calls and emails as well as processing and plan checking applications and booking site visits and updating records. All our team are familiar with working in this way and the adjustment will not be too significant.

Please do not call into the Council offices in Dartford as the council offices are now closed and all face to face consultations are currently suspended. If you need to contact us please use the contact details of your Building Control surveyor, as detailed on the correspondence we may have already sent you, or email building.control@dartford.gov.uk or call our main contact centre on 01322 343434.

Following the rise in the spread of the virus we have changed our ways of making site inspections and for the foreseeable future we will only be making site visits for foundations and Drainage, between 10:30am-3pm Monday to Friday, provided that our screening questions can be answered satisfactorily.  We will not be making any other physical site visits, unless absolutely critical, but will be making virtual inspections via WhatsApp video calls, or other suitable method such as FaceTime or Microsoft Team, and if considered appropriate photographic evidence, all to be discussed and agreed with your building inspector when booking.

We therefore suggest you discuss this with your agent and contractor(s) regarding their contingency plans. For example, if work is continuing on site, ensure your contractors are able to undertake virtual inspections via WhatsApp etc., take digital recordings and photographs and are confident in forwarding them to us for approval.

What services are being carried out?

All our statutory services are currently being delivered; processing, plan checking building regulations applications and inspecting building projects (as noted above), overseeing dangerous structures, processing of demolitions notices and competent person records.

Completion inspection have currently been suspended, unless critical for the sale of a property.

Are you still fully contactable?

Yes, we can be contacted during normal offices hours via our online form or calling our main contact centre on 01322 343434 and you can use the contact details of your Building Control surveyor, as detailed on the correspondence we may have already sent you.

Can I still submit a building regulations application?

Yes. We are working as normal and the easiest and quickest way to submit an application to us in by using the online form’s on our website.  After creating your application, you can then attach any plans or calculations and we will contact you for payment of the relevant fees. This information updates in our back office system so that we can begin the validation process soon after.

Please remember to add your email address and mobile number so that we can communicate with you more efficiently and avoid the need to send out information in the post. (Which could possibly be disrupted in the future.)

Can I still post an application form or plans to you?

As we are unsure whether will be able to access our council building for post, or whether there will be disruption to the postal service we suggest you do not post an application or plans to us. If you need help completing a form online or  would like us to take an application over the phone for you please email us at building.control@dartford.gov.uk or call our main contact centre on 01322 343434 to discuss this.

Can I call into the council offices to speak to you about my project?

Please do not call into the Council offices in Dartford as these are now closed and all face to face consultations are currently suspended. (This could change so please check council website for more up to date information.)

If you need to contact us please use the email or direct dial numbers on the correspondence we have already sent to you, or email building.control@dartford.gov.uk or call our main contact centre on 01322 343434, and we will be happy to discuss your project with you.

How will you communicate with me during the lifetime of my application?

We work almost entirely electronically so please ensure you provide email addresses and mobile numbers for both the agent and applicant.  We do not know whether the postal service will be affected in the future and this will ensure we can contact you throughout the lifetime of your application.

Are surveyors still plan checking applications?

Yes, all Full Plans applications will be plan checked by our building control surveyors who are used to working with onscreen plans and any calculations will continue to be checked.

Will my project be fully inspected throughout the build process?

Following the governments instructions on Monday evening we are changing our ways of making site inspections and for the foreseeable future we will only be making site visits for foundations and Drainage, between 10:30am-3pm Monday to Friday, provided that our screening questions can be answered satisfactorily.  We will not be making any other physical site visits, unless absolutely critical, but will be making virtual inspections via WhatsApp video calls, or other suitable method such as FaceTime or Microsoft Team, and if considered appropriate photographic evidence, all to be discussed and agreed with your building inspector when booking.

We therefore suggest you discuss this with your agent and contractor(s) regarding their contingency plans. For example, if work is continuing on site, ensure your contractors are able to undertake virtual inspections via WhatsApp etc., take digital recordings and photographs and are confident in forwarding them to us for approval.

We will continue to follow Government advice regarding any further changes we may need to make.

Please remember that the onus is on you and your builder to notify us of when a site inspection is needed and that a satisfactory final inspection will be needed in order for us to issue a completion certificate.

What measures are you taking to ensure the health and wellbeing of your staff who come into contact with me or my builder?

We are following Government and our employer’s advice on safe practice to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our own staff and customers. Our surveyors will only be making virtual inspections for everything other than foundations and drainage and adhere to the guidance around social distancing, including not shaking hands and maintaining a distance of two metres from you when attending site. We will also be asking screening questions before our surveyors attend any site visits.

What if my builder has to pull off site mid-way through my build or cannot start my project for a prolonged period?

A building regulations application remains valid from three years from the date it is was ‘validated’ (when the application and correct fee are received.) Provided you start work* within this three year period, your application will remain live for as long as you need it to.

*If you or your builder are unsure what constitutes ‘work started’ please discuss this with us.  It is worth remembering, that if you complete the project but do not request a final inspection of work within ten years of the last inspection we will not be able to issue a completion certificate even if the work is satisfactory.

If the Covid-19 outbreak continues do you have business continuity plans in place?

Yes, we do, and we have been actively working on this for a number of weeks. As our service is part of the largest building control service in England and Wales - LABC, we will be able to draw on the support and assistance of neighbouring LABC teams should we need to.

How do I request a property history search for my home?

Property searches can be carried out direct via the ‘My Property’ section of our website at

Finally, we all probably need to take a break from the news and if you are looking for ideas or inspiration for your next home improvement project, take a look at our Homeowner Guides - A Guide to Extending your Home at Guide to Extending your Home.

Thank you from all the Team at Dartford Building Control

Last Updated: 06th October 2020