Building regulation FAQs

  1. What are building regulations?
  2. Why are they made?
  3. Who enforces the building regulations?
  4. What work is subject to control?
  5. Do I need building regulation approval?
  6. What must I do to obtain approval?
  7. What are the differences between a full plans application and the building notice and which do I choose?
  8. Do my neighbours have the right to object to what is proposed in my building regulations application?
  9. Do I have to pay anything for the service?
  10. What will the council do?
  11. When can I start work?
  12. Where can I obtain information on the standards to which I must build?
  13. What can I do if my plans are rejected?
  14. What happens if I do work without approval?
  15. Can I get previously unauthorised building work regularised?
  16. Where can I find out more?
  17. Where can I find information on Electrical Safety?
  18. Where can I find a registered Electrical Contractor?

 

1. What are building regulations?

Levels of performance laid down by Parliament dealing with the construction of buildings and installation of some services.

 

2. Why are they made?

To safeguard the health and safety of people in or around buildings. They are also concerned with energy conservation and access and facilities for disabled people in new offices, shops and public buildings.

 

3. Who enforces the building regulations?

A building control officer checks plans for compliance with building regulations and carries out inspection work on site during progress of the work.

 

4. What work is subject to control?

If you want to put up a new building or extend or alter an existing one, the building regulations will probably apply. They will probably also apply if you put a building to a differing use. Building regulations approval is completely different from planning permission and it does not mean that if you get one you will automatically get the other.

 

5. Do I need building regulation approval?

Take a look at our building alterations guidance to determine whether or not you need building regulation approval.

 

6. What must I do to obtain approval?

If your building work requires building regulation approval, there are two procedures to choose from: a) deposit of full plans b) the building notice for a full plans application. Plans need to be drawn up showing all constructional details. For the Building Notice procedure, less detailed plans are required, unless the project is large or complex.

 

7. What is the difference between a full plans application and a building notice and which do I choose?

A building notice is an alternative to the full plan application. It does not require the submission of detailed plans. If you choose the building notice route then you should be sure that you have agreed what the builder will build and what is to be included in the price. You should also make sure that it meets building regulations.

For smaller works, and with the benefit of an experienced builder, building notice applications are often the obvious choice. In both cases, the application must be made before works start. Take a look at our full plan application and building notice application guidance before you choose.

 

8. Do my neighbours have the right to object to what is proposed in my building regulations application?

No. However, objections may be raised under separate legislation. For example, if your proposal is subject to approval under the Planning Acts. If the proposals affect or are adjacent to a party wall or fence etc, you may have to serve a party wall notice on your neighbour.

 

9. Do I have to pay anything for the service?

Yes. A fee is payable to the council unless the work is exempt. The Building Control department will advise you of the required fee, which will be subject to VAT, and when the fee is do to be paid. There is a difference in cost between a full plans application and a building notice: building notice applications are more expensive than full plan applications.

 

10. What will the council do?

If you use the full plans procedure, the council will check your plans and consult appropriate authorities, for example, fire, water authorities. If your plans comply, you will receive notice that they have been passed. If the council is not satisfied, you may be asked to make amendments or provide more details. If your plans are rejected, the reasons will be stated in the notice. If you use the building notice procedure, the work will normally be inspected but you will not receive any notice indicating whether your proposal has been passed or rejected. If, while work is in progress, the council requires further information of a plan, you must supply the details requested.

 

11. When can I start work?

Once you have given a building notice or submitted full plans, you can start work at any time, but you must give the council two working days notice of your intention to do so. However, if you start work before you receive a decision on your full plans application, you may not be able to seek a determination from the Secretary of State if there is a dispute.

 

12. Where can I obtain information on the standards to which I must build?

From approved documents, published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, giving practical guidance on meeting the requirements of the regulations. However, you are not obliged to use any particular solution if you prefer to meet the requirement of the regulations in another way. If you do follow the guidance in the approved documents, you will know that the work is presumed to comply with the requirements. If you do not follow the guidance, and it is suggested that your work does not comply, you will have to demonstrate by other means that you have satisfied the requirements.

 

13. 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 for his determination. But note that you must apply for a determination before the work which is in dispute has started. The fee for determination is half the plan fee subject to a minimum of £50 and a maximum of £250.

 

14. What happens if I do work without approval?

The council has to see that building work complies with regulations. If the work does not comply, you may be asked to alter or remove it. If you fail to do this, the council may serve a notice requiring you to do so. Normally the notice will give you 28 days to rectify the work.
 

15. Can I get previously unauthorised building work regularised?

It is now possible for unauthorised building work which was commenced on or after 11 November 1985 to be regularised.

 

16. Where can I find out more?

You can contact building control on 443 2380 for further advice. The Building Act 1984, the Building Regulations and the accompanying Approved Documents may be seen at the Building Control office or at the Reference Library. All of these documents may be purchased from HMSO or any good bookshop.


17. Where can I find information on Electrical Safety
For general advice, guidance and information in easy to understand formats.


18. Where can I find a registered Electrical Contractor 
A register of electricians belonging to the various CPS schemes can be found here