Part Finished Project How to Get Building Completion Certificate?
We got planning permission for two extensions either side of our detached house12 months ago. Just finished ONE of these and the building control officers have been round and told our builder all is fine, but they won't issue Completion Certificate until the OTHER extension is completed.
Due to the recession, we might not build it for some time yet. So we'd have to WITHDRAW it from consent. They've got us over a barrel - can they do this? I paid the fee based on the WHOLE project, I would be happy to pay again, but don't want to withdraw consent, as it would be a bonus if we ever sell the house. Please help!
It does sound like a nightmare scenario but the key is in the name – completion certificate. It's not so much an approval of the work but a document that certifies that the work has been finished to the correct standards. They do seem to be being a little petty here though, have you not been able to talk to someone higher up to see if there is a sensible way forward?
Three Year Time LimitAssuming you've tried that step and it hasn’t worked, there are a few options, none of them perfect though. The first is to take full advantage of the time that you have, which is three years from the date of planning approval, so you have two years to go before needing to apply for the completion certificate.
The risk here is that if you don't complete within the three year period then most local authorities will then consider that they are not obliged to issue a completion certificate based on their previous inspections. They can issue a completion certificate, and in fact they must under the law as it's illegal for you not to have one. But they will not do it from their records and that means they can request full plans and drawings and even ask you to expose certain aspects of the build to make sure it's of the correct quality.
So if you go down this route you must get the other extension finished before the two remaining years are out.
Is Withdrawing a Real No-No?You have already picked up on the other solution which is to withdraw the second extension from consent. I can understand the frustration of doing this but financially it won’t be too bad and it is very unlikely to change the saleability of the house.
Planning consent lasts for five years and even if that expires, all you would have to do is apply for planning permission again when the time comes to sell. It is very unlikely, unless there has been a massive change in planning policy in the area, that a permission that had been given in the past would not be given again. And you wouldn't have to pay for plans and drawings as you presumably have those already from the first application.
Good luck, but do try talking or writing to the head of the building control department if you haven't already.