HC Deb 04 December 1992 vol 215 cc393-4W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the current level of building control fees; and what was the level of those fees in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available;

(2) what was the rise in both actual and percentage terms of the most recent increase in building control fees; when that increase was implemented; and upon what basis that increase was calculated;

(3) if he will make a statement outlining the reasons for levelling building control fees; and for which precise categories of building work they are levied.

Mr. Baldry

The current level of building control fees payable to local authorities in England and Wales is set out in the Building (Amendment of Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1992 (1992 No. 2079). These regulations, which were laid before Parliament on 9 September 1992 and came into operation on 1 October 1992, provided for an increase in fees for all three categories of building work: new housing, domestic extensions and alterations, and all other types of work including industrial and commercial.

Building control fees are levied so that the costs of providing the service are paid for primarily by the developer rather than by the taxpayer generally. The purpose of the increase was threefold: to keep fee levels in line with inflation since the previous increase in February 1991; to reflect increased local authority workload arising from the Building Regulations 1991; and to reduce the deficit between fee income and the cost of the building control service, which was particularly large for work involving domestic extensions and alterations. The average increase for most categories of work was 9.4 per cent. The actual fee for an average sized house increased from £209 to £228; for 10 houses from £1,802 to £1,972; for a £0.5 million non-domestic building from £2,440 to £2,668. For non-domestic work above £1 million the fees remained unchanged. Fees for domestic extensions and alterations inceased by 50 per cent., involving an actual rise for an average sized extension from £60 to £90; and for larger extensions from £120 to £180.

The level of fees charged by local authorities over the last 10 years are set out in the following statutory instruments which are available in the Library of the House:

Statutory Instrument Came into force
1982 No. 577 1 July 1982
1983 No. 1611 (Amendment) 19 December 1983
1985 No. 1576 11 November 1985
1986 No. 2287 (Amendment) 1 February 1987
1988 No. 871 (Amendment) 13 June 1988
1989 No. 1118 (Amendment) 1 September 1989
1990 No. 2600 (Amendment) 1 February 1991

The separate building regulations system for London was incorporated into the national arrangements in 1985 and 1987 and the building regulation fees existing at the time in England and Wales were applied to London under the Building (Inner London) Regulations, Statutory Instruments 1985 No. 1936 and 1987 No. 798 which came into force on 6 January 1986 and 1 July 1987 respectively.