Questions and Answers
The Regulations are arranged in a series of Approved Documents, each covering the following:
- A Structure
- B Fire safety
- C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
- D Toxic substances
- E Resistance to the passage of sound
- F Ventilation
- G Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency
- H Drainage and waste disposal
- J Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
- K Protection from falling, collision and impact
- L Conservation of fuel and power
- M Access to and use of buildings
- P Electrical safety
- Q Security - Dwellings
- R Physical infrastructure for high-speed electronic communications networks
- the deposit of a full plans application; or
- the submission of a building notice (except for certain types of building work – primarily in respect of fire safety issues where a building is used as a workplace or where it may affect a drain).
Full Plans applicationAn application deposited under this procedure needs to contain plans and other information showing all construction details, preferably well in advance of when work is to start on site. Your local council will check your plans and consult any appropriate authorities (e.g. fire and sewerage). We must complete the procedure by issuing you with a decision within 5 weeks, or if you agree, a maximum of 2 months from the date of deposit.
If your plans comply with the Building Regulations you will receive a notice stating that they have been approved. If your local council is not satisfied, you may be asked to make amendments or provide more details. Alternatively, a conditional approval may be issued. This will either specify modifications which must be made to the plans; or will specify further plans which must be deposited with your council. Your local council may only apply conditions if you have either requested them to do so or have consented to them doing so. A request or consent must be made in writing. If your plans are rejected the reasons will be stated in the notice.
Your local council will carry out inspections of the building work once it is in progress. They will explain about the notification procedures which the regulations require you to follow at various stages of the work – e.g. in connection with foundations, damp proof courses and drains. In addition, if you request a completion certificate when you first make your application, the local authority will issue it to you provided they are satisfied the completed work complies with the Building Regulations.
A further point to bear in mind is that if a disagreement arises with your local council, the ‘full plans’ procedure enables you to ask for a ‘determination’ from the DCLG about whether your plans do or do not comply with the Building Regulations.
Download your council's Full Plans application form.
A Building NoticeThis procedure does not involve the passing or rejecting of plans. It therefore avoids the preparation of detailed ‘full plans,’ and is designed to enable some types of building work to get under way quickly; although it is perhaps best suited to small work. There are also specific exclusions in the regulations as to when building notices cannot be used. These are for building work which is subject to section 1 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 or Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997; for work which will be built close to or over the top of rain water and foul drains shown on the ‘map of sewers’; and where a new building will front onto a private street. If you decide to use this procedure you need to be confident that the work will comply with the Building Regulations or you will risk having to correct any work you carry out if your local council requests this. In this respect you do not have the protection provided by the approval of ‘full plans.’
Once you have given your ‘building notice’ and informed your local council that you are about to start work, the work will be inspected as it progresses. You will be advised by the council if the work does not comply with the Building Regulations. If before the start of work, or while work is in progress, your local council requires further information such as structural design calculations or plans, you must supply the details requested.
A local council is not required to issue a completion certificate under the building notice procedure; and because no full plans are produced it is not possible to ask for a determination if your local council says your work does not comply with the Building Regulations.
Download your council's Building Notice form.
Where an electrical installation is provided, extended or altered, sufficient information shall be provided so that persons wishing to operate, maintain or alter the installation in the future can do so reasonably safely.
Further information can be found in Approved Document P.
Probably the most serious problem will be the effect on any future house sale. Approval Notices and Completion Certificates are now needed as standard for any conveyancing and you may experience problems selling. You may also find that your house insurance is invalidated.
Visit our Regularisation Applications page for more information and to download an application form.
Please note that some local authorities automatically declare the full plans application as expiried after 3 years if no notification has been received that the work has started. Therefore please check with your local authority building control office for further advice.
A building notice application however automatically expires after 3 years from the date of deposit.
You should not construct a conservatory where it will restrict ladder access to windows serving a room in the roof or a loft conversion, particularly if any of the windows are intended as a way of facilitating escape or rescue if there is a fire.
• under 30m2 in floor area;
• single storey and does not contain any sleeping accommodation and either:
– it is built substantially of non-combustible material; or
– when built it is no less than 1m from the boundary of the property.
No – if the work amounts to no more than, for example, replacing broken glass, replacing fogged double-glazing units, replacing some rotten sashes (i.e. opening parts) in the main window frame, or replacing some rotten sections of the main frame members.
If your building is listed nationally, or locally in some way, for its architectural or historic interest and/or is located in a sensitive urban or rural environment (e.g. a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), you will more than likely need to make a formal application for the work.
Yes – if the repair work is more significant: e.g. removing a substantial part of a wall and rebuilding it; underpinning a building; or installing a new flue or flue liner. In the case of re-roofing more than 25% of the roof area; and if the roof is thatched, or is to be thatched where previously it was not – then the Building Regulations will apply.
Your contract with the electricity distribution company has conditions about safety which must not be broken. In particular, you should not interfere with the distribution company’s equipment which includes the cables to your consumer unit or the cables up to and including the separate main isolator switch if provided.
No – provided the work only involves installing an additional fitting or fittings in the same or a new location which does not involve extensions to the drainage pipework.
Yes – if you are installing or replacing a hot water cylinder within a vented hot water storage system (i.e. a system fed from an open-ended pipe for venting). The requirements are for the installation to be energy efficient. If you employ an installer registered with the Institute of Plumbing for a vented system, you will not need to involve the Building Control Service.
For either type of system your installer should leave you with a completed installation record and commissioning certificate such as the one produced by the BENCHMARK scheme. Some manufacturers attach BENCHMARK certificates to cylinders ready for installers to complete.
Except in an emergency, your local council should be given at least 24 hours notice of any intention to repair any underground drain (section 61 of the Building Act 1984).
Solid fuel appliances: Yes – but if the building is no more than three storeys and you employ an installer registered with HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) to carry out the work, you will not need to involve a Building Control Service.
Oil appliances: Yes – but if the building is no more than three storeys and you employ an installer registered with OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association for the Petroleum Industry) to carry out the work, you will not need to involve a Building Control Service.
In general, but with certain limitations (e.g. relating to appliance output and the height of the building), the above registered installers may also carry out associated building work necessary to ensure that the appliance complies with the Building Regulations, without involving your local Building Control office. This may include work on a hearth, fireplace or flue.
The fuel burning appliance installer should provide you with information about the safety performance limits of the installation and should also fix a notice plate in a place where it will be readily seen – e.g. adjacent to the mains water stop cock or the electricity consumer unit.
If you are having a boiler installed, your installer should leave you with a completed installation record; a commissioning certificate such as the one produced by the BENCHMARK scheme; and a User Instruction Manual.
The installer should follow the appliance manufacturer’s instructions or take other steps such as following the guidance in ‘Installation and Maintenance of Flues and Ventilation for Gas Appliances (etc)’(BS 5440) so that adequate means of ventilation is available for dispersing the water vapour produced by the appliance to the outside air.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provide free leaflets on the hazards posed by domestic combustion appliances and how these can be safely managed – ‘Gas appliances. Get them checked – keep them safe’ and ‘Landlords: A guide to landlord’s duties.’
No – if the work amounts to no more than alterations to fireplaces, hearths, flues and chimneys it may not be subject to the Building Regulations. However, this type of work should always take account of the guidance in Approved Document J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems. It is vital that flues should operate efficiently, and that risks of the building catching fire or of people suffering burns should be minimised.