Your Home’s History: Building Control

If you’re looking to find the original plans for your house, details of who built it, or structural specifics then our Building Control collection is the best place to start. We hold building control records covering all properties in Kirklees built, or significantly modified from the 1860’s to c.2005, although the time period covered varies from area to area. This means that these collections are relevant to almost everyone across Kirklees, as they encompass nearly every household, street and community in the area.

The Building Control system has its origins in the mid-nineteenth century when fears about disease and overcrowding in Britain’s towns and cities led to new laws relating to urban development. Building control regulations set standards for the design, construction and safety of residential and commercial buildings. They consist of records of applications and the accompanying architectural plans and paperwork. Applications are listed in registers, typically organised by date and/or name of the applicant. Applications are listed in registers, typically organised by date, name of the applicant, and/or street name, such as the one below.

Dewsbury Building Control Index (Ref no.: KMT8)

Building control records cover a wide range of buildings, including additions, alterations and extensions. Domestic buildings covered include houses and villas, as well as additions such as privies and pigsties. These records also encompass commercial buildings such as pubs, shops and factories. Plans vary in detail from simple sketches, to detailed drawings showing sections, elevations and floor plans. Not only do these records show you what your house used to look like and how it has evolved, these records can also help to answer questions on structural specifics such as foundations, drainage, insulation, and much more.

Building Control Plan no. 673 for Highcliff, Dewsbury, 1868 (Ref no.: KMT8)

Above is an example of a building control plan for a house in Dewsbury called Highcliff. The enquirer was researching the history of their parents’ house and came to us for help. We found four plans in total relating to the property; the original plans for the house dating from 1868, alterations to an ashpit in 1894, an addition of a greenhouse and conservatory from 1898, and an addition of a bedroom and scullery in 1899.

This is a great example of the way in which building control plans can be used to trace the development of a property throughout time. You can also discover some of the names of the people who used to live in your house, as the register often lists the person who commissioned the work. This can be a great starting point for research. The plans can also tell you who the architects were, the materials used in the building’s construction and the layout of the house.

Other Exhibition Pages

Your Home’s History: Introduction

Your Home’s History: Pre-Nineteenth Century Records

Your Home’s History: The Development of Council Housing

Your Home’s History: Home Life