London Building Control can be used as the building control body for commercial projects. Approved by the CICAIR on behalf of the Secretary of State.
Flats, Shops, Offices, Industrial units, Educational and Health Care buildings and HMO’s are considered as commercial projects and require statutory consultation requiring Fire Authority consultation.
The Approved Inspector Building Control Process is set out in The Building Control Process.
For commercial work (including the common parts of flats) we need to carry out consultations with the Fire Authority concerning means of escape and access for fire fighters and vehicles. Particular attention needs to be given where there is sleeping accommodation, often needing smoke detectors and smoke ventilation of common stairs and lobbies. Likewise basements/basement carparks need particular care and ventilation.
Consultation with the Fire Authority is required under the Regulatory Reform Order for buildings which the public may use or where people are employed. As part of this Order employers are required to carry out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment, which LBC can arrange.
Commercial buildings will require SBEM thermal calculations (with a Target Emission Rate compared to the Building Emission Rate). Flats require SAP calculations and Energy Performance Certificates at end of works and air tightness tests will usually be needed as part of the energy assessment.
Planning may often ask for additional items under the requirements for ‘optional requirements’.
LBC can help advise you on any of these matters or refer you to consultants.
Access for the disabled
Access and facilities for the disabled also need to be considered in some detail, often with an access statement, covering the provision for disabled toilets and facilities (showers, changing rooms, lowered counters etc). Wheelchair refuges by stairs may also be needed where users can await rescue in a fire. Additional ‘optional requirements’ may also be required under planning.
Acoustic testing is needed for flats and residential rooms.
Often structural calculations are needed in support of the design – for steel columns or beams, or for unusual foundations etc.
Help from Consultants
LBC can refer you to accredited bodies for the required assessments (structural engineers, energy and acoustic assessors, or fire safety engineers). This independent advice would then form a comprehensive package for your project.