The Building Regulations are essentially a set of minimum building standards which provide acceptable levels of health and safety for people including those who are disabled, who live, work, visit or are in the vicinity of buildings. It is the responsibility of the Building Control Division to enforce the Building Regulations and other relevant allied legislation.
If you are considering carrying out any form of building development it is almost certain that you will need to make an application for Building Regulation Approval.
When carrying out building works applicants should note that Building Regulations Approval and Planning Permission are completely separate requirements. It is important to check what you need and to obtain consent prior to starting work.
When is an Application Required?
The Regulations apply to most building work, whether it is inside or outside the building. They apply to the erection of a new building, extension or alteration of an existing one, or to the provision of fittings such as drains, washing facilities, sanitary conveniences, heat producing appliances, or certain hot water storage systems. They may also apply if you wish to put an existing building to a different use, an example being when a building is to become a dwelling where previously it was not.
If you have any doubt at all whether Building Regulation approval is required please contact us as below.
Do I need approval to build an extension to my house?
Yes, but a porch or conservatory built at ground level and under 30m2 in floor area is exempt. For more guidance see:
Do I need approval to install replacement windows in my house?
Yes, From April 2002, all replacement glazing will come within the scope of the Building Regulations. From then on, anyone who installs replacement windows or doors will have to comply with strict thermal performance standards. Please see Competent person schemes website for more information.
One of the main reasons for the change is the need to reduce energy loss. The Building Regulations have controlled glazing in new buildings for many years but they represent only a very small percentage of our total building stock. It is also essential to improve the performance of the much larger numbers of existing buildings if we are to meet increasingly stringent national and global energy saving targets. When the time comes to sell your property, your purchaser’s surveyors will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed after April 2002 complies with the new Building Regulations.
Do I need approval for a loft conversion?
Yes, even if for an 'occasional use'.
Do I need approval to carry out repairs to my house?
Generally no, if the repairs are of a minor nature and you are replacing like for like. In the case of re-roofing, if the new tiling or roofing material is heavier, or lighter, than the existing materials then an approval under Building regulations is required. Major renovation work can also trigger an application where it involves the renovation of a thermal element (i.e roof, external walls or floors). This can affect a variety of works such as re-roofing, re-rendering, re-plastering re-flooring etc. Building Regulations now require that where feasible the insulation within these elements is upgraded as part of the renovation works if the existing provisions are insufficient. The requirements can be fairly complex and thus we recommend contacting us to discuss your particular project.
Do I need approval to make internal alterations within my house?
Yes, if the alterations are of a structural nature such as the removal or part removal of a load-bearing construction - for example, a wall, partition, joist, beam or chimney breast. You also need approval if, in altering a house, work is necessary to maintain the means of escape in case of fire.
Do I need approval to install sanitary fittings and appliances within my house?
- to install hot water storage?
- yes. If the system is unvented (under direct mains pressure).
Do I need approval to install or replace electric wiring?
Yes. Please see the section below on electrical works- section 17.
Do I need approval to insert cavity wall insulation?
Do my neighbours have the right to object to what is proposed in my Building Regulations application?
No. While there is no requirement in the Building Regulations for you to consult your neighbours, it may be courteous to do so. Objections may be raised under other legislation, particularly if your proposal is subject to approval under the Town and Country Planning Acts.
Do I have to pay anything for the service?
Yes. A charge is payable to the local authority unless the work is exempt.
What will the local authority do with the application?
If you use the Full Plans procedure, the local authority will check your plans and consult appropriate authorities (such as fire and water companies). If your plans comply, you will receive a notice that they have been passed. If the local authority is not satisfied, you may be asked to make amendments or provide more details. Alternatively, a conditional approval may be issued. If your plans are rejected, the reasons will be stated in the notice.
If you use the Building Notice procedure, as with Full Plans applications, the work will normally be inspected as it proceeds; but you will not receive any notice indicating whether your proposal has been passed or rejected. If, before commencement or while work is in progress, the local authority requires further information such as structural design calculations of plans, you must supply the details requested.
What can I do if my plans are rejected?
You can resubmit them with amendments to make them comply with Building Regulations. Alternatively, if you think the decision to reject is not justified, you can refer the matter to the Secretary of State for The Environment, Transport, and the Regions for determination. But note that you must apply for a determination before the work, which is in dispute, has commenced.
Where there is a mandatory requirement you may ask the local authority to relax it if you think that is justified. If they refuse, you may appeal to the Secretary of State within one month of their refusal.
A charge is payable for determinations but not for appeals.