Certificate of Completion is incomplete

20 May 2014
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United Kingdom

Any help and advise would be appreciated, as my own solicitor is unsure about how to proceed. I am in the process of buying a house where extensive alterations/additions have recently been done. The vendor has provided all the architect drawings that were submitted to the local council as a full plans application, and a recently dated Certificate of Completion.

The issue that has cropped up is that under the "Description of Work" heading in the Certificate of Completion the list of work that was carried out is not a comprehensive one. It is clear that several works described in the architect drawings have been omitted from the "Description of Work," though the Certificate does make reference to the full plans application. For example, the installation of a new bathroom in a former bedroom is not mentioned in the Certificate, but it is obvious in one of the drawings.

The vendor then further provided me with a letter from the architect in question who categorically states that the Certificate of Completion covers all the works as described in the drawings submitted under the full plans application.

To try to confirm this, I then personally called the local building control department, and the gentleman I spoke to stated categorically that the "Description of Work" is meant to be a comprehensive list. In other words, any work not expressly mentioned in the Certificate has not been approved.

So now I am totally confused. Do the documents the vendor has provided settle the building regs matter? Or should I request further documents?

I actually also had a building survey done, and the surveyor was quite pleased with the quality of the refurbishment. Thank you.
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The items detailed in the Certificate are often copied directly from the description of the work entered on the original full-plans application form.

If the architect completed the form for the client, presumably he has just given a basic description, such as 'two-storey side extension to dwelling', and maybe not added an ensuite or perhaps a wall removed somewhere.

However, if the Certificate refers to the plans submitted with the application, and these items are actually on the plans, it shouldn't be an issue.

You seem convinced the work has been done to a good standard; what's your solicitor concerned about? There may be other potential buyers in the wings.
Thank you for the reply. My concern is because I am worried what a potential buyer might consider if several years down the road I decide to sell the property on. If the architect's drawings and letter should satisfy any reasonable buyer (and their solicitor), then the matter is settled in my mind.
But where does it stop? Does the description of works list every carpet fibre?

if full plans have been submitted and the coc says they have been built to standard, that's your answer

how much do you want the house? If you're looking at this as an excuse to walk away, walk away. If you want the house, tell your solicitor to stop jerking around on your dime and get on with it. In 12 months it all becomes unenforceable anyway, and if you sell the house and the next buyer starts asking these questions of you, give the same reasoning- they either want the house or they dont
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Fair enough. I did not mention this one other issue earlier, so as not to complicate the picture further. But perhaps it this useful to bring it up now.

There was originally a WC in the original layout of the property, and it disappears in the "proposed floor plan" drawing that was submitted to the council. So the plans essentially show this WC demolished to make more space for a room. But in the current house, there is now a bathroom in that exact space where the original WC stood - with a shower and sink. Given that this bathroom is not in the plans the architect submitted to the council, what is its status? Should I simply assume that every work in the property is covered by the Certificate of Completion?

Thanks very much.
Stop worrying and just buy it, your solicitor is of the spineless variety, all too common unfortunately.
As above, remind your solicitor of something that he/she should already know - that after 12 months frrom completion, any work requiring building regs is immune from enforcement.

You are presumably paying your solicitor for knowing this. He/she risks the vendor getting fed up and pulling out.
Given that this bathroom is not in the plans the architect submitted to the council, what is its status? Should I simply assume that every work in the property is covered by the Certificate of Completion?

Bog to bathroom would be a refit, surely?
OK, I've decided to go ahead with the purchase. One final query though. Once we have bought the house, would it be a straightforward matter to ask the local council to issue an additional completion certificate for the new bathroom that was installed (the one shown in the plans)? After all, the council is presumably aware of the work done given the COC that was issued.

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