Information about building regulations

Building regulations ensure the safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility of buildings. Building control officers enforce these regulations and provide guidance. Find out more here.

Building regulations are performance levels set by Parliament that govern the construction of buildings and the installation of certain services. They are designed to safeguard the health and safety of people in or around buildings, as well as promote energy conservation and accessibility for disabled individuals in new offices, shops, and public buildings.

Enforcement of building regulations is carried out by building control officers, who review plans for compliance and conduct on-site inspections during construction. These regulations apply to the construction of new buildings, extensions or alterations to existing buildings, and changes in building use.

To obtain building regulation approval, applicants can choose between two procedures: a full plans application or a building notice. The full plans application requires detailed plans, while the building notice procedure requires less detailed plans. The choice between these two options depends on the complexity of the project and the applicant's experience with construction.

Neighbours do not have the right to object to building regulation applications. However, objections may be raised under separate legislation, such as the Planning Acts or party wall legislation.

Fees are payable for building regulation applications, except for exempt work. The council will advise applicants of the applicable fee, which may vary depending on the procedure chosen.

Once a building notice has been given or full plans have been submitted, work can begin at any time, but the council must be notified two working days in advance. However, starting work before approval is received may limit the applicant's options for disputing a rejection.

Information on building standards can be found in approved documents published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. These documents provide practical guidance on meeting the requirements of the regulations. However, alternative solutions are also acceptable if they can be demonstrated to comply with the regulations.

If building plans are rejected, they can be resubmitted with amendments or the matter can be referred to the Secretary of State for the Environment for a determination.

Unapproved building work may be required to be altered or removed. If the owner fails to comply, the council may serve a notice requiring them to do so.

Unauthorised building work that commenced on or after November 11, 1985 can now be regularised.

For more information, contact building control on 443 2380 or refer to the Building Act 1984, the Building Regulations, and the accompanying Approved Documents. These documents are available at the Building Control office, the Reference Library, and HMSO.

To find a registered electrical contractor, visit NICEIC.

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