Building Regulations

Building regulations (England and Wales) and Building Standards (Scotland) 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.

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.

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;
  • Agricultural 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.

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.
What type of application do I need?

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 and enter your postcode 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.

Retrospective regularisation applications

If the work has already recently started or possibly even been completed without proper consent, then a retrospective application can be made using a Regularisation form. You can even use this if the work was carried out by a former owner. Any work can potentially be regularised as long as it was carried out after the 11 November 1985.

The purpose of the process is to regularise the unauthorised works and obtain a certificate of regularisation. Depending on the circumstances, exposure, removal and/or rectification of works may be necessary to establish compliance with the Building Regulations.

It's best to contact your local authority Building Control Service to discuss your individual circumstances before submitting a regularisation application.

Building Regulation applications must be made to the local authority where the work is being carried out and each authority uses their own forms. You can also now use the LABC Portal to quickly and efficiently send your application.

Make an online application

Using the LABC portal you're be able to submit your building regulation application direct to the building control team.

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.

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.