We are continuing to develop  a programme of surveys as part of our remit under the Royal Warrant (of the Historical Manuscripts Commission) to enquire into the existence and location of records and archives of all kinds.

Survey of Local Authority Building Control records

In 2013 The National Archives undertook a survey of the surviving building control records created by English and Welsh local authorities for the period up to 1996. The survey was conducted with the assistance and support of English Heritage and relevant agencies of the Welsh Government (CyMAL, CADW) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

The sequences of registers and plans produced by lower-tier and unitary local authorities in the exercise of their building control responsibilities under the Public Health Acts and later the Building Acts, are one of the most important sources for the study of buildings and of changes in the historic landscape from the 19th century onwards. The survival of the records is, however, patchy and the records are not always found with the obvious archive repository, so it has been hard for researchers to identify whether relevant material exists and where it is held. The survey was designed to provide a single point of access to the records for the benefit of researchers. Information was provided by almost all relevant archival bodies and by about 30% of successor local authorities. It is probable that some further records remain with successor authorities that did not respond to the survey, but the survey work identified that very few local authorities are still holding building control records from before 1960 and almost none from before 1948.

The results of the survey are presented in four spreadsheets under the subheading 'Local authority building plans survey'

Introduction to the building survey (DOC, 0.03MB)

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