Building regulations – what’s the point?

We were recently involved in a new-build development of five houses. After looking at the architect’s plans and taking some measurements from them, we came up with a design, quoted the builder and the quote was accepted.

On further examination of the plans, I took it upon myself to notify the builder about the regulations that apply to extractor fans, saying that on all new-builds the hood must be ducted to the outside.

After the building work commenced, I attended site for the first meeting to see how progress was getting on, and meet the appropriate people – you know the score, put a face to a voice, and so on.  At this meeting, I once again asked about how we would need ducting put in the ceiling void to the outside wall, as all the hoods were located on an internal wall. I was assured this would be done.

Months passed and it was finally our turn to supply the kitchens and get them fitted. On arrival on site, it became apparent that no ducting had been installed, so we raised our concerns with the site foreman, who just shrugged his shoulders and walked off. We installed the kitchens with no appliances, as the developer had not yet confirmed which Neff appliances he required. We then left the site.

A few weeks ago, I drove past the site and noticed For Sale boards had been put up, so I had a quick look in and discovered that someone else had fitted the appliances. No loss there, I thought, as we all know we make nothing on appliances. But imagine my surprise when I discovered that no external ducting had been done.

I contacted the local building control officer at the council and questioned him about the regulations under Part F1 Section 5 for new dwellings. He confirmed with me that they needed to be ducted out. He then looked at who had signed off the building work and found it was a private company. On discovering this, he wouldn’t talk to me any more, as the council could then become liable.

So my question is, what is the point in having regulations if nobody has to comply? Get in a private company and they will sign off anything.

Is this right?

Adam Atkinson, Key Interiors, Poole, Dorset

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