Building regulations: your questions answered
Find answers to some of the questions asked about Building Control.
Building regulations for new dwellings which came into effect on 26 December 2022
You will need to return your form to us together with any supporting evidence.
Building regulations which came into effect in June 2022
New homes and buildings in England will have to produce significantly less CO2 under new rules announced by the government. These new building regulations came into force for applications made on or after 15 June 2022.
Applications made before this date had to commence by 14 June 2023 to avoid the changes. This applies to each individual plot.
We have 2 guides to help explain the changes.
Make a building regulation application when installing a controlled fitting in an exempt building
Guidance from the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in 2005 stated that if the building is a 'small detached building' as defined in Schedule 2 to the Building Regulations, then the regulations do not apply to either its erection or any subsequent work done to it so long as it remains a small detached building.
This has been more recently confirmed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) where it was stated the situation has not changed and any work to controlled fittings is exempt. DCLG further advised the only control is with respect to Parts G and P in regulations 9(2) and (3) of the Building Regulations 2010.
Building projects which need building regulation approval
Most building projects - even small extensions, knock-throughs or improvements - need to comply with the building regulations. This applies in cases where planning permission is not needed.
So it's always best to ask for advice from our building control team.
Smaller improvements around the home
Some types of minor building or improvement works like putting up sheds, car ports or porches do not need building regulation consent. The general rule is that if they are small (less than 30m2), are built of non-combustible material, are separated from nearby buildings or land and do not contain sleeping accommodation, they are exempt.
It is always best to check with our Building Control team before starting work.
Other kinds of minor improvements, such as installing central heating, can be carried out by 'competent persons'.
Find out more about competent persons on the Competent Persons Register website.
Most new electrical work must be carried out by a competent electrician.
You can find a register of electricians belonging to the various competent person schemes on the Registered Competent Person Electrical website.
The Electrical Safety First website has advice for landlords to guidance on using electricity while travelling.
The difference between planning permission and building regulations
Planning permission is more about deciding what may have an adverse effect on neighbouring properties and the wider environment.
In contrast building regulations set standards for design and construction, with building control checking the work of builders and architects to make sure projects are built properly and that when complete they are safe and comfortable for people to live in.
How to apply for building regulation approval
Talk to our Building Control team who will be able to help you decide the most appropriate way to apply.
There are generally 2 types of applications for building regulation approval:
- Full plans (usually for larger work)
- Building Notices (usually for more minor works)
For both of these you will have to pay a fee.
Selling your home: get approval for building work carried out before you owned the house
If your home has been improved or extended by a previous owner, you will need to have the proper certification for it when you come to sell.
If you do not have the relevant building certificates, then you can apply for retrospective approval. This is known as 'regularisation'.
Our Building Control surveyor will assess the work to see if it is up to standard and, if not, recommend improvements to bring it up to standard so they can issue the appropriate certificates. You will have to pay a fee for this assessment.
How much it will cost
How much it will cost will depend on the work you are doing and the type of application.
We are only permitted to recover the cost of the work we carry out. Our Building Control team does not make a profit on their services. This is in contrast to private 'Approved Inspectors' who are permitted to make profits on the work they undertake.
How the approval process works
Inspection Service Plan
When your application is approved by our Building Control team you will usually be provided with an Inspection Service Plan before you start work. This outlines the stages of work that require inspection. It will vary depending on the:
- the size and complexity of your project
- the age of your home
- the construction type
- the ground conditions
- your builder's experience
You'll need to inform our Building Control team when you start and when you reach the stages outlined in your Inspection Service Plan so the surveyors can carry out site visits.
Once the work has been completed to the satisfaction of our Building Control team, you will be issued with a Completion Certificate to show all the work is up to standard.
How long it takes
For an application by Building Notice, there are no detailed plans to inspect and approve so you can start work as soon as the notice is accepted. This will usually be within 48 hours.
With a Full Plans application the plans have to be thoroughly examined before being approved. And by law a council must give a decision on an application within five weeks of receiving it (unless it is extended with your written consent), but usually it is much less than this time.
Approval of building plans lasts for 3 years and if you don't start work in that time we may serve you with a notice declaring your plans "of no effect". This means you will need to submit a fresh application.
Your Full Plans application will be rejected if they do not meet the technical requirements of the building regulations.
We will let you know why your Full Plans have been rejected and give you the chance to resubmit amended plans. If you do not agree with the our Building Control team's interpretation of the regulations, you can appeal to the Secretary of State for a 'Determination'.
Informing neighbours about building plans
You should discuss any proposed building work with those neighbours who are most likely to be affected either by the finished structure or the building process through things like noise or dust.
If the work involves shared walls or boundaries you may also need to get your neighbour's formal agreement through a party wall agreement.
Find information on party walls on the Planning Portal.
If work has gone wrong
If you have a complaint is about your own building work, you should initially raise it with your builder. You should always use a reputable builder who is a member of a trade association such as the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). The FMB complaints procedure sets out what you can do if your building work has gone wrong.
Our Building Control team inspects building work and will certify it meets building standards. If they find work is not up to minimum legal standards they have the power to require the builder to bring it up to the required level.
So if you have concerns about the quality of work on your building site you should contact our Building Control team to discuss your concerns.
Penalties for not complying with the building regulations
If our Building Control team judges the work to not be up to standard it has powers to order you to pull down or alter the work.
Serious and persistent cases of failure to meet building standards can result in legal action and a fine.