Building Control

Selling a Property after carrying out Works

Failure to follow the Building Control Regulations can delay your sale

When you decide to sell your property and you put your to-do list together it might look something like this;
1. Speak to an estate agent and get a rough valuation;
2. Check with your mortgage company as to how much is left to repay;
3. Decide whether you’re going to rent or buy post-sale;
4. Find a deep cleaning company to make the property look presentable to prospective buyers;
5. Find a gardener to tidy the outside;
6. Consider what items in the house you might throw away.

One thing that might be far from the forefront of your mind is what to do about all the work you have had done to the property. Surely if the work was done a few years ago and there’s been no problems then that’s the end of the matter? Possibly not if you didn’t follow the Building Control Regulations.

Building Control Regulations

The Building Control Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 are legal requirements which lay down levels of performance for the construction of buildings and installation of some services. The rationale is that they help to protect the health and safety of people in or around buildings by raising standards.

Some works are covered by the Regulations and some works are exempt. Works covered by the Regulations include; replacement of a boiler; installation of a new central heating system; installation of cavity wall or roof space installation; installation of a wood fired burner. On the other hand replacing your whole kitchen or bathroom is exempt. To find out whether the work you have carried out is covered see here.

Completion Certificates

If you were to do everything by the book (or should we say – by the Regulations) you would give your local council’s Building Control department notice, in advance, that you are going to carry out works covered by the Regulations and submit your plans. Their surveyor could then come out to inspect the work at various stages, depending on what is being done, and at the end they would inspect and give a Completion Certificate. If you do happen to have one you do not need to worry about reading the rest of this article! Just make sure you keep this safe and give it to your solicitor whenever you come to sell your property.

Regularisation Certificates

So what if you haven’t got a Completion Certificate, how do you get around this? It depends on when the work was carried out. If it was completed more than ten years ago then you can relax and put the feet up (that time limit is reduced to five years for the installation or conversion of a central heating system). If the unauthorised work was carried out within that time then a solicitor for a prospective purchaser can insist on the production of a Regularisation Certificate. This is a retrospective sign off of the works carried out. It will cost a little more than if you had applied at the outset but it will confirm for the purchaser’s satisfaction that the works have been carried out to an appropriate standard. If the prospective purchaser is buying with the assistance of a mortgage company, the lender is very unlikely to let the sale go through with the production of such a certificate.

Potential for delay

Sometimes these issues don’t arise until a few weeks into the conveyancing process when the parties realise there are unauthorised works which need to be cleared. This means the vendor has to make the relevant application to the local council, the local council has to send out a surveyor and the surveyor has to draft up a certificate. This can cause unnecessary delay and, in some circumstances, cause an impatient buyer to go elsewhere.

The lesson then is when you decide to sell your property, and you’re putting together your to-do list, have a think about all of the work you’ve had done to the property. Is there a valid Completion Certificate? If not, then make your application to your local council as you won’t be able to sell your property without getting retrospective approval.

If you would like advice in relation to any issue regarding the Building Control Regulations, or the sale of a property, please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email at

hearing loss claims solicitors

Do you work in construction or industry? Have you developed Hearing loss or Tinnitus?

Boyd Rice Solicitors have successfully recovered compensation on behalf of clients who have sustained damage to their hearing as a result of their employer failing to provide adequate protection. We have successfully recovered compensation against the following local employers;


  • Shorts
  • Bombardier
  • Harland and Wolff
  • Ford
  • Visteon
  • James Mackie and sons
  • Ministry of Defence
  • British Enkalon
  • Crepe Weavers
  • Donaghadee Carpets
  • Carpets International
  • Spence Bryson Carpets Ltd
  • Regency Carpet Manufacturing Company Ltd
  • LE Pritchett (NI) Ltd

We offer a free initial consultation and can facilitate meetings outside of normal working hours. Please give us a call on 02891 817715 or Belfast on 02890387060 or email;

Do you work in industry or construction? Do you use vibrating hand-held tools at work for prolonged periods?

Have you developed hand conditions such as Vibration White Finger, Hand/Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), Raynaud’s Phenomenon or Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

Boyd Rice Solicitors have an experienced team of Solicitors who have recovered compensation for clients in actions against their current or former employers. We may be able to help even if the Company that you used to work for no longer exists. Working in construction or industry can place significant strain on your hands and unfortunately this can lead to conditions which will affect you on a daily basis for the rest of your life. Using any of the following tools for prolonged periods can be harmful to your arms or hands;

– Kango hammers
– Pneumatic jack hammers
– Drills
– Chain saws
– Grinders
– Sanders
– Bucking bars
– Hydraulic breakers

Using this type of equipment can also lead to hearing loss.

If you have developed a hand/arm condition as a result of your employment please give us a call to arrange a consultation. Our initial consultation is completely confidential, without obligation and free of charge. Please ring our Newtownards office on 02891 817715or Belfast on 02890387060 or email

What issues to consider when Selling a Property serviced by a Septic Tank

If you’re selling a property serviced by a septic tank you must have a consent to discharge in place

Do you have a septic tank? Do you have a consent to discharge in respect of the septic tank? If you are planning to sell your home and your answer to the first question is yes and your answer to the second is no or you are unsure then you need to find out quickly as it unlikely you will find someone to buy your property without a consent being in place.

A discharge consent is required if your home is not connected to the main public sewer. If you have an Emptying Agreement with NI Water in respect of the septic tank, contrary to some misconceptions, you will still require a consent to discharge. A consent to discharge waste from a single domestic dwelling is granted by the Department of Agricultural, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) following an application made using the WO1 form. Recommendations may be made by the local council’s Environment Health (Rivers) Officer.

How to find out if you have a consent to discharge

If you are unsure whether there is a consent to discharge in place first search the Domestic Consents Public Register. All domestic consents and maps for consents granted from 1992 to present are available to download from DAERA’s website. Even if you cannot find your consent on their online site, contact them directly as historically sometimes the consents were applied for and granted with an address that does not reflect the current postal address.

If you receive confirmation that the use of your septic tank is not covered by a consent then the consequences are potentially very serious. If you discharge any trade or sewage effluent without consent, or breach any condition of a discharge consent, you can get be fined up to £20,000 or be imprisoned for up to 3 months. Therefore you will want to make the application as soon as possible.

How to apply for a consent to discharge

The DAERA website indicates that it can take up to four months for the application to be processed. If you already have a prospective buyer of the property this delay could be enough to cause the proposed sale to fall through. The good news is we can provide you with access to wastewater treatment solutions professionals who can look after the whole application process, from start to finish. Not only will this remove the stress of dealing with it yourself it, will really speed up the process from taking a few months to potentially taking a few weeks. This will allow you to proceed with the sale of your property.

Once the sale of the property has gone through the new owner submits a WO4 form to have the consent reissued in his or her name.

If you would like advice in relation to any issue regarding consents to discharge, or the sale of a property, please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email at

Personal Injury Specialist Solicitors

Non-fault accidents- your own insurance should not be affected

Boyd Rice Solicitors has an experienced team of road traffic accident Solicitors who will always strive to ensure that you;

– Are not out of pocket following your accident;
– Receive a replacement vehicle;
– Obtain compensation for your injuries;
– Have the benefit of medical treatment;
– Recover any loss of earnings.

We have noticed an increasing number of clients have approached us on the basis that they feel a sense of injustice that have been asked to pay their insurance excess or, that their premium has increased, following an accident that is not their fault.

This can be avoided by contacting us immediately after your accident has occurred on 02891 817715. If you are involved in an accident over the weekend we can still help, simply email providing a contact telephone number and we will come back to you right away.

When you contact us first we will provide you with immediate advice in respect of what to do next. We can ensure that your insurance is not affected at all by your accident and arrange for your vehicle to be assessed and subsequently repaired.

Early advice is key.

Passenger on a bus that crashed? Follow this guide

Many of us use public transport travel to work, access local supermarkets or visit relatives. Our injury claims’ team have successfully recovered compensation for clients who have sustained injuries whilst travelling as passengers on public transport.

If you have been injured following an accident on a bus we would suggest that you take the following steps;

  1. Retain a copy of the bus ticket. If you used a smart pass keep it and record its unique identification number;
  2. Ask for the name of the bus driver, take note of the bus route and where you were sitting on the bus;
  3. Exchange contact details with other passengers;
  4. If Police attend the scene take a note of the Police incident number;
  5. Take photographs if possible of the bus and any other vehicles involved. Take note of the other vehicle’s registration number;
  6. Seek medical attention for your injuries;
  7. Contact Boyd Rice Solicitors.

We have just provided advice to the family of one of the passengers on the bus that was involved in an accident with a traffic on the Belfast Road, Newtownards at Bradshaws Brae on 16th July 2018. If you were also travelling on this bus and have sustained injuries please give us a call.We wish all involved the very best with their recovery.

Please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email and let us explain how we can help you.

We offer a free initial consultation where we will confidentially discuss the circumstances of your accident and will assess how we can assist you in the best way possible. We use leading experts to investigate accidents and our team of medical practitioners are extremely experienced.


purchasing a house through co-ownership conveyancing law

How to get a deposit for a first home

Some hints and tips to inspire first time buyers

Ask any aspiring first time buyer what the biggest hurdle to buying their starter home is and they will tell you it is saving up for the deposit. The average deposit need for a first-time buyer house in Northern Ireland is an eye-watering £30,435. With property prices on the increase it may seem like the dream of owning your first home is moving ever increasingly out of reach. Helpfully we have decided to provide you with some tips that may help make that dream a reality.

Move back in with the parents

Housing rents are far in excess of monthly mortgage repayments right now. Every pound you give to your landlord is a pound less saved towards your deposit. It makes perfect sense then to move back home and put what you would have spent on rent into the bank at the end of each month. The average rent here is £629 per month. Over the course of a year that is a not inconsiderable sum of £7,548. In addition you may be able to save on food, utilities, etc.

The Bank of Mum and Dad

Yes this is only available to the privileged and is unfair on those more disadvantaged but the majority of first time buyers are getting gifts to help with the deposit. Your lender will require your parents to sign a gift waiver, often with independent legal advice. One thing to be wary about, if your parents die within seven years of making the gift to you its value may still be counted towards the inheritance tax liability.

Move somewhere else

If you don’t mind a bit of a commute to work you will find that the property values vary wildly in Northern Ireland, as they say, “location, location, location”. Moving from Belfast into the commuter belt or from one county to another can get you similar properties at a fraction of the cost. This will help knock a big chunk off of your deposit.

Get a Help to Buy ISA

Don’t just save, get the government’s help. If you open up one of these ISAs (available at almost all of the high street banks) the government will boost your savings by 25%. The maximum bonus you can get is £3,000 per saver. So if you and your partner are purchasing together you could conceivable get a bonus of £6,000 between you. There is a lot of small print so make sure you take time to apprise yourself of the terms before getting involved.

Buy with Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing

This is a not for profit organisation with the sole purpose of making housing more affordable. In very broad terms you buy between 50% and 90% of the home you want and they buy the remaining share. You pay rent on the share that you do not own. You can then buy more shares in your property as the years go by. What this does is vastly decrease the size of the deposit you need (by up to 50%) so it is not to be sniffed at.

If you would like advice in relation to any issue regarding the purchase of a first home please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email at

Personal Injury Specialist Solicitors

Office closed 11th to 13th July inclusive

Our offices will be closed between 11th and 13th July inclusive but you can still reach us if required! If you have been in an accident and require immediate advice please email and we will come back to you within one hour.

Free Wills Month

Call us during the month of June to avail of a free Will

Drafting up a will is something most of us know we should do but something we usually put off for another day. Now is the perfect time however to finally get round to it as Boyd Rice Solicitors are offering free Will writing services throughout the month of June.

You neither have to be an existing client of ours nor do you have to use any of our other services to take up this offer. All that we ask is that you make a small donation to our Charity of the Year, Cancer Focus NI.

If you want us to help you draft a will please give us a call on 02891 817715, or contact our estates team by email at

New Privacy Policy

Boyd Rice Solicitors are entrusted by you, our clients, to hold sensitive information on your behalf. We use this information, at your instruction, in order to obtain the best possible results for you.

This bestows upon us a great responsibility as custodians of this information. We, in conjunction, with our partners have processes and systems in place to keep this information secure.

As a result of the incoming General Date Protection Regulation we have updated our privacy policy. Please take time to read through it. If you have any queries do not hesitate to call us on 02891 817715.