Building Regulations

Building regulations are the national standards that make sure buildings are safe, warm and dry.  Nearly all residential building work – such as home extensions or roofing work – as well as new build will need to be signed off by a local council building control team to make sure it is up to standard.

How to Make a Building Regulations Application

Any building project that aims to create something new or to alter or extend an existing building will usually need to comply with Building Regulations. Also any person carrying out building work needs to ensure that the work complies with the regulations.

There are some types of work which will be exempt from the Building Regulations and an application will not be necessary. These can be small works such as Porches, Sheds or Conservatories.

Approved Documents

Part A - Structural Safety

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part A (Approved Document A) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations concerned with the requirements with respect to structural safety.

Part B - Fire Safety (Volume 1: Dwelling Houses)

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part B (Approved Document B) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations concerned with the requirements with respect to fire safety.

Part B - Fire Safety (Volume 2: Buildings other than Dwelling Houses)

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part B (Approved Document B) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations concerned with the requirements with respect to fire safety.

Part C - Site Preparation & Resistance to Contaminants & Moisture

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part C (Approved Document C) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations concerned with the requirements with respect to site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture.

Part D - Toxic Substances

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part D (Approved Document D) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations concerned with the requirements with respect to Toxic Substances.

Part E - Resistance to the passage of Sound

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part E (Approved Document E) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to resistance to sound.

Part F - Ventilation

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part F (Approved Document F) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations concerned with the requirements with respect to ventilation.

Part G - Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water Efficiency

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part G (Approved Document G) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water Efficiency.

Part H - Drainage and Waste Disposal

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part H (Approved Document H) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Drainage and waste disposal.

Part J - Combustion Appliances & Fuel Storage Systems

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part J (Approved Document J) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to heat producing appliances.

Part K - Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part K (Approved Document K) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to protection from falling.

Part L - (1A) Conservation of Fuel & Power in new dwellings

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part L (Approved Document L) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Conservation of fuel and power.

Part L - (1B) Conservation of Fuel & Power in existing dwellings

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part L (Approved Document L) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Conservation of fuel and power.

Part L - (2A) Conservation of Fuel & Power in new buildings other than dwellings

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part L (Approved Document L) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Conservation of fuel and power.

Part L - (2B) Conservation of Fuel & Power in existing buildings other than dwellings

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part L (Approved Document L) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Conservation of fuel and power.

Part M - Access to & Use of Buildings

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part M (Approved Document M) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to Access to and use of buildings.

Part N - Glazing Safety in relation to Impact, opening & cleaning

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part N (Approved Document N) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to glazing safety.

Part P - Electrical Safety in Dwellings

This section covers the technical guidance contained in Part P (Approved Document P) of schedule 1 of the Building Regulations with the requirements with respect to electrical safety.

There are two options when submitting an application for building works

Full Plans

This is the most common type of application local authorities receive for building works. It requires detailed drawings to be submitted together with the relevant fee for the work being undertaken. The plans are checked and an approval notice is issued before work commences.

This process can take up to 8 weeks dependant on the project, but in most cases it will be completed well before this.

Building Notice

This is a simpler procedure generally used for minor works such as the removal of an internal load bearing wall, but cannot be used for commercial developments. A big advantage is that it allows work to start 48 hours after submission of the application as there is no plan checking involved before work begins.

For clarification on which application type would be suitable for your project and for information on the fees to be paid, speak to your local Building Control Office (Click HERE to find your local office).

There are also procedures that need to be followed and notifications given to the local authority before, during and on completion of the project.

Building Regulation applications must be made to the local authority where the work is being carried out and each authority uses their own forms.

What are the Exemptions?

A number of minor buildings are exempt from the Building Regulations, as listed below. Full details can be found in Schedule 2 of the Building Regulations and it is recommended that proposals for such buildings are run through a Building Control office:

  • Detached buildings not normally used by people;
  • Aricultural buildings;
  • Greenhouses;
  • Buildings for the keeping of animals;
  • Temporary buildings in place for less that 28 days;
  • Construction site and sales offices;
  • Small detached buildings less that 15m2 with no sleeping accommodation;
  • Small single storey detached buildings less than 30m2 with no sleeping accommodation and that are more than one metre from boundary or constructed of non-combustible materials;
  • Ground level extensions less than 30m2 floor area consisting of a conservatory, covered yard, covered way, porch or a carport open on at least two sides.

The Government has recently been reviewing this last exemption as it applies to conservatories and porches because of the carbon losses which can occur.

Applying the Regulations

Unless the work you propose is exempt, you must gain approval for your proposal from the relevant local authority. This can be done by making an application to the relevant local authority prior to the start of the work. Applications are in two forms: Full Plans & Building Notice.

Full Plans: This is the more generally applicable type of application. It requires that copies of all plans, specifications and calculations be submitted together with the appropriate application forms and fees. When satisfactory, the plans are approved and documentation is issued. Building work will be inspected by the local authority as it progresses.

Building Notice: Straightforward domestic schemes of work come under this application procedure. It only requires a limited range of fundamental information (excluding design plans), an application form and fee. While the Building Control Surveyor will anticipate potential problems and issue guidance, it is ultimately the responsibility of those carrying out the work to comply. Emphasis is laid on site supervision. To further help site assessment and verify compliance, plans and calculations may be called for.

Carrying out the work: Building Control Surveyors will inspect the work at statutory and crucial stages. Persons carrying out the work should liaise with the local authority to match the inspection regime with the contractor’s programme, and also give notice of commencement.

Completion: A final inspection will be made upon completion, so the local authority can issue a Completion Certificate indicating compliance and clearance

Competent Persons: The regulations allow for certain specialist operations to be exempted; self certified; or subject to alternative quality and inspection regimes by accredited persons, such as:

  • Un-vented hot water systems - BBA or NACCB;
  • Gas installations - CORGI;
  • Replacement windows and doors - FENSA scheme;
  • Solid Fuel Boilers, etc - HETAS;
  • Oil Fired Boilers - OFTEC;
  • Electrical Installations in dwellings - see Part P.
Service and procedures

Local authorities have a legal duty to administer and enforce the Building Regulations within the Building Control Performance Standards framework. To assist, the District Surveyors Association, has developed a Quality Performance Matrix (QPM).

The QPM is a blueprint of delivering a high quality, cost effective service, which takes into account the customer relations, formal consultations, informal liaison, third party issues and public accountability issues required by the Building Regulations process. Building Control legislation allows appeals to be made to local authorities or Courts, and determinations and relaxations to be sought from the ODPM. Quick dispute resolution of issues can be determined via the LABC’s Adjudication service at a regional level.