Skip Navigation|

Frequently-Asked Questions

What Are Building Regulations?
Building Regulations are a set of standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health of people who use and go around those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and that facilities are provided for people with disabilities.

Is Building Regulation Approval The Same As Planning Permission?
No. These are two entirely separate functions. Planning permission may be required even if the building regulations do not apply, and vice versa, Planning advice can be obtained from the Director of Environmental Services and Housing.

Where Can I Find Information On Planning Permission?
Information on Planning Permission can be found in our Planning Section.

What Do I Do On Completion?
When your work is finished you should contact your Building Control Surveyor to arrange a final inspection. We recommend that any final payments to builders are only made after the completion inspection has been carried out and a completion certificate issued.

Who Administers Building Regulations?
Surveyors in the Building Control Section perform this role. Highly qualified and experienced teams of surveyors will examine plans and carry out site inspections of work in progress: Their extensive knowledge of materials and construction methods and local conditions is available to assist you at all stages of the construction process.

Can I Obtain Retrospective Permission On An Existing Building?
If you have carried out work without first obtaining the necessary building regulation approval, you may have difficulty selling the property or re-mortgaging.
If the work was done after the 11th November 1985, there is a procedure that you can use to obtain permission retrospectively.
You should submit two copies of plans showing the work before and after with full constructural details, along with a regularisation application form and the appropriate fee. This type of fee does not attract VAT but is 150% of the normal fee (please contact the Building Control Section).
Once your application is received, a surveyor will contact you to visit the premises and evaluate what has been done. If remedial work is necessary this will be highlighted and once corrected, a regularisation certificate will be issued.

When Do I Need Building Regulations Approval?

  • When you erect or extend a building.
  • When you materially alter a building e.g. carry out structural alterations.
  • When you extend or alter a controlled service within a building e.g. install a WC.
  • When you want to change the building's fundamental use.
  • When installing replacement windows using a Builder or window company not FENSA registered.
  • Certain domestic electrical work.
  • When you alter the energy status of the building e.g. re-render.

What Do We Mean By A 'Change Of Use'?
When a building that was not previously a dwelling is used as such. Where a building contains a flat where previously it did not. When a building is used as a hotel or institution where previously it was not. When a building becomes a public building (e.g. school, theatre, hall, church) where previously it was not.

I Have Assessed That I Do Need Building Regulations Approval, So What Do I Do Next?
There are two ways in which you can apply to us for permission to build, either by depositing 'Full Plans' or by the Building Notice' procedure.
Note: that if you are proposing to erect a non domestic building or flats then you must deposit 'Full Plans'.

What Are The Differences Between The Two Procedures?

The benefits of the 'Full Plans' procedure are:

  • We will advise you on the Building Regulations at the design stage of your project, which means your plans are more likely to be passed by the Local Authority.
  • We will ensure that you have a decision usually within 3 weeks - passed or conditionally approved.
  • You may save yourself the costly delays that can occur if you work is not up to standard. See the information about 'Full Plans'.

The benefits of the 'Building Notice' procedures are:

  • Where the building proposals are for minor work the Building Notice procedure is simpler than the full plans procedure.
  • If your proposed work is not too extensive or complex it is a good idea to use a building notice, but your builder (or you) must know what he is doing as rectification of work can be expensive.

Will I Have To Pay For Building Regulations Approval?
Yes, we are obliged to make a charge for the work of administering the Regulations. The initial amount you have to pay will depend on whether you choose the Full Plans or Building Notice procedure.

When Can I Start Work?
You do not have to wait for the plans to be approved before starting work; however having them passed gives you some protection against unnecessary costs. After you have given us a Building Notice or sent us plans you can start work, please try to give us 2 days notice. You may do this by telephone. If you proceed with the work without having notified us you may be asked to undo it so that the Building Control Officer can check whether it complies with the Regulations.

What If I Fail To Notify The Council?
If you carry out work without telling the Council you may be committing a criminal offence for which you can receive a fine upon conviction of up to £5,000. Problems can also arise in the future if the property is sold and the relevant local authority searches reveal that permission was not obtained.