What are building regulations and do I need to apply for approval?

Building regulations set minimum standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

Meeting the requirements of the building regulations is the responsibility of the person carrying out the building work and, if they are not the same person, the owner of the building.

The following types of project are considered to be building work and will need building regulations approval:

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • An alteration involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings
  • Installing replacement windows using a builder or window company which is not FENSA registered
  • The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
  • The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
  • The underpinning of the foundations of a building
  • When you want to change the building's fundamental use
  • Renovation of a thermal element
  • Change of a building's energy status.

For further information  A Guide to Extending your Home.  This link will take you to an external website...

More information about how the building regulations apply to different kinds of building projects can be found on this page of the Planning Portal website.

If your building work consists only of the installation of certain types of services or fittings (e.g. some types of drainage, fuel burning appliances, replacement windows, WCs, electrical installations and showers) you can employ an installer who is registered to self-certify the work. This means you will not need to formally apply for Building Regulations approval. For more information please read this information about self certified building work.

There are also occasions where buildings, extensions and alterations you carry out do not require building regulations approval. For more information please see the page on exempt work. However, it is still recommended that you check with Planning Services to see if planning permission is needed.

Before you carry out building work, you or your agent (architect, builder or surveyor) must advise the  building control team by either submitting full plans for approval or through the building notice procedure. See apply for approval page for more details.

Last reviewed: 26 - 08 - 2014

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