Where you see this symbol FAQ you can submit a question and we will add the answer to our pool of Frequently Asked Questions for the benefit of other users. Whilst using the website if you come across a term or word you do not understand, then you can submit it to our glossary and we will provide an explanation, which again will help other users. We try to use plain language where possible and your feedback will help. Thank you.

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What are credit unions?

If you need to borrow money to cover unplanned bills for essential items why not consider approaching a Credit Union. The interest charges of a credit union are less than many other sources of credit.

Credit Unions provide an important source of credit particularly if you find it difficult to access money from high street banks and building societies. They can help prevent you from falling victim to illegal sources of credit such as loan sharks.

Credit Unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. Members pool their savings together which then provide funds from which loans can be made. Besides loans and savings, profits go towards developing the business or are returned to members in the form of a dividend.

At what time does the council office open?


The Market Hall, Market Place, Whitehaven, CA28 7JG

- Monday: 9am 5pm
- Tuesday: 9am 5pm
- Wednesday: 10am 5pm
- Thursday: 9am 5pm
- Friday: 9am 4.30pm
- Saturday: CLOSED
- Sunday: CLOSED

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The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven, CA28 7SJ

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 8:45 – 5:15pm
  • Wednesday, 10am – 5:15pm
  • Friday, 8:45 - 4.30pm

Please note: The reception has moved to The Market Hall. For anyone visiting the Copeland Centre for a meeting, please access the side reception and select the relevant officer from the telephone system. 
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The Millom Office, St George’s Road, Millom, LA18 4DD

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am – 4pm
  • Wednesday, 9am – 12pm

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Cleator Moor Local Links based at Cleator Moor Library

  • Monday, Tuesday, 9am– 5pm
What if I encounter problems during the construction process?

If problems arise during the progress of works our officers will do their best to help find solutions, and will be happy to offer advice to both you and your builder.

The Building Control service is not a warranty organisation and if the building work fails to meet your needs or expectations your redress would be against your builder, not the Council. For this reason you should take great care in selecting a builder who is reliable and who is still likely to be around if you have problems two or three years into the future.

Is a building regulation completion certificate the same as a guarantee or warranty?

No. The completion certificate simply confirms that, as far as the Local Authority has been able to ascertain, the work on-site complies with the current Building Regulations. This means that inspections will need to have been carried out at the appropriate times, and that any problems found were put right. The Local Authority does not provide a guarantee or warranty on the work.

If you are buying a new or altered property, always make sure your solicitor checks that a completion certificate has been issued for the work. This is particularly important as if defects are found later; it may be you who is responsible for correcting them rather than the previous owner!

If I make a Building Notice application, will the Building Control Officer tell me how to carry out the work during his first visit?

No, although we are always willing offer help and advice but you should not expect to use the Building Control Officer as a substitute for an architect or designer.

If you are not confident that you (or your builder) are fully conversant with the requirements of the regulations, then we would strongly advise that you do not use a Building Notice application.

If you do not check plans on Building Notice applications, why are the charges the same as for Full Plans Applications?

As no plan check is made, additional reliance is placed on the inspection stage of the process to ensure the Building Regulations are complied with.

This translates into a requirement for either more inspections being necessary, or the inspections made taking longer than would be the case with a Full Plans application; hence the total cost is the same.

What is the difference between Building Regulations and Planning permission?

The legislation for both is very important in development but is fundamentally different.

Building Regulations consider the construction of the proposed work and how to comply with the Regulations. They represent a minimum standard

Town Planning legislation (planning permission) principally deals with the appearance of new building work and how it will impact on the surrounding residents and general locality.

How long do I have to complete the building works once work has commenced on site?

Once work has commenced, you have an unlimited time limit to complete the work. However, it is strongly recommended that you complete building work as soon as possible to prevent the deterioration of exposed materials (i.e. insulation, untreated timber, etc) and save unnecessary delays should the need arise to sell your property.  

How long do I have to start work after my Building Regulations application has been fully approved?

Once you have received full approval you have a time limit of three years for works to start on site. If this time elapses, a new application may be required to be submitted to Local Authority.

Building Notices automatically lapse after 3 years.

Can you give me the name of a good architect or builder?

We are not permitted to give you any names of Architects or Builders.

Choose an established builder and ask to talk to previous clients - find out if they were happy with the work, whether it was started and completed on time and if the final bill was in line with the estimate. A builder with a reputation to preserve is more likely to be around if you have problems later.

Never choose a builder on the basis of a low estimate alone. Good builders who refuse to cut corners will seldom be able to compete on price with those that do.

Avoid builders who offer VAT free deals in return for cash payments.

For further information, see our guidance 'Choosing a Reputable Contractor'.