It is important to realise that planning permission and building regulations approval are entirely separate. Many works requiring building regulations also need planning permission, whilst some require only one type of consent.
Planning permission relates mainly to the correct use of land, the aesthetic appearance of the proposed building and the effect that the development will have on the general environment and neighbouring properties, and also deals with listed buildings and conservation areas.
Building regulations are concerned with the way in which the building is constructed and includes:
- structural stability
- means of escape
- fire precautions
- weather resistance
- energy conservation
- sound insulation
- access and facilities for people with disabilities
What building work is exempt
The regulations apply to ‘building work’, however there are some works the regulations do not apply to.
‘Building work’ is defined as:
- the erection or extension of a building
- provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting in or in connection with a building
- the insertion of insulating material into the cavity wall of a building
- work involving the underpinning of a building
- a material alteration of a building or controlled service or fitting. An alteration is material if at any stage the work or part of it were to result in:
- the building, controlled service or fitting not complying with the Regulations where it did previously, or
- the building, controlled service or fitting which did not comply with the Regulations being made more unsatisfactory
- material change of use. If the building is changed so that it becomes a public building, contains sleeping accommodation or is altered to form a greater or lesser number of dwellings than there were previously
A building is any permanent or temporary building. A reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building.
Controlled services or fittings – those to which Parts G, H, J and L of the Building Regulations impose requirements. They include sanitary equipment, heating and hot water systems, drainage and waste disposal systems, window, substantially glazed doors and roof windows.
An application is always required for:
- loft conversions
- garage conversions
- attached garages
- replacement windows, doors (being a door which, together with its frame, has more than 50% of its internal face glazed) and rooflights
- removal of load-bearing walls
- cavity wall insulation
- underpinning works, and
- work to commercial buildings
- you are carrying out work to any commercial premises, place of work or other Fire Certified building, or
- where the proposed work involves the erection, extension or underpinning of a building over, or in the vicinity of, a public sewer or drain
- you have not provided the additional information requested within the 5 or 8 week period
- important information is missing from the application (e.g. structural design calculations)
- there is a major problem that will require the proposals being substantially redesigned
- the plans do not provide enough information or are not accurate or detailed enough to enable us to check them satisfactorily, or
- the plans show major contraventions of the Building Regulations, which cannot easily be resolved
This list is not exhaustive and we are happy to give specific advice regarding your project. For more information please contact us either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01202 633250.
What type of application you need to make
There are 2 methods of making an application for building regulations. These are known as the Full Plans application and the Building Notice.
Full Plans application
A Full Plans application is suitable for all building work.
Under this method, the plans are examined by the building surveyor, we will review your application without delay - it takes on average 10-15 days (and often less). You/your agent has a statutory period of 5-8 weeks to amend through to approval (although we can agree extensions when the project complexity dictates).
When the plans are found to be in compliance with the building regulations, or are amended to bring them into compliance, an official approval certificate is issued.
A Building Notice is suitable for minor works including replacement windows, cavity wall insulation and alteration works. Control of the work is carried out on site after each part is completed, and any contraventions of the regulations discovered by the building surveyor may require the removal or alteration of the offending work.
A Building Notice places the emphasis on you and your builder to ensure that the work complies with Building Regulations.
Ensure that you are going to build before you make an application to us as no refund or part refund is permitted once the application has been submitted. You also have only 3 years to start the work, or you will have to submit a new application and a new fee.
If your proposed work is situated over or close to a public sewer, a Building Notice will not be acceptable, a Full Plans application will therefore be necessary.
Drawing the plans yourself
You may choose to draw the plans if you have a sound knowledge of building construction and relevant building regulations. We recommend that you employ an architect, building surveyor or equivalent who will produce better results and possibly reduce any delay in getting an approval.
Why plans may be rejected
Unless the plans do show major contraventions, you will usually be contacted before a rejection is issued to provide you with the opportunity of responding to any queries we may have.
Page last updated: 02 April 2019