Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are highlighting the latest consumer scams in Norfolk.
The Building (Local Authority Charges) Regulations 2010 came into force on 1 April 2010 and have required all local authorities to review, revise and publish a new charges scheme by 1 October 2010. North Norfolk District Council’s scheme was approved by Full Council on December 2014 and is available for inspection, at any time during normal offices hours, at the Council Offices, Holt Road, Cromer.
The new regime is based firmly on the ‘user pays’ principal whereby charges are set solely to recover the cost of providing the service. There are a number of significant differences to the 1998 Regulations:
- Whilst the authority is still required to break even over a continuing cycle in terms of total income, it is now also required to break even on individual project categories (ie larger projects should not subsidise smaller ones).
- Refunds or supplementary charges can be levied where the level of input varies considerably from that originally envisaged. Also additional charges can be levied where expert advice or consultation has to be bought in (eg electrical testing where a competent tradesman has not been used, structural engineering checking etc).
- Although straightforward projects will have standard charges, many more charges than before will be individually determined and negotiated.
Where this occurs and the scheme you are submitting falls outside the standard charges, shown in the enclosed documents, it will be necessary for us to establish the charges for the project from the plans and specification. This will be based on the estimated time it will take us to check the plans and undertake the necessary inspections. We must then inform you, in writing, of the charge we intend to make for the project.
Where this occurs we suggest that you deposit the application, without the fee, which will enable us to establish the fee for the project from the details submitted. We will then inform you of the fee, in writing (hopefully by email). Once payment has been received we can register the application and commence the checking procedure.
We realise that this is slightly cumbersome and will inevitably result in a minor delay in the normal registration process, however this is the statutory procedure we are being required to follow at the present time. We intend to monitor this situation and if it creates major problems we will have to review it to see what changes can be made. Of course any suggestions you may have in this regard would be appreciated.
- The reliance on estimated costs of works will be much reduced as charges will be set to cover the actual time and effort involved in providing the service. The total charge when using a Building Notice will not always be the same as Full Plans (sometimes the Building Notice process will be more expensive).
- As local authorities’ hourly rates and on costs will inevitably vary it is likely that charges will vary geographically, although within Norfolk we are trying to maintain a degree of consistency. We will certainly be specifying very similar project categories against which to list standard charges.
In establishing our new level of charges it has been inevitable that some of the current charges have changed. Some have increased whilst others will be less. You will also note that the categories in Table C have changed and increased,
A copy of our revised charges are available below.
Last updated: 23rd March 2018