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It's a legal requirement for building work to meet the Building Regulations (2010) and building control services, also known as building control bodies, check that work complies with the Building Regulations and associated legislation. Work that needs to be checked by building control includes:
- conversions (loft, garage)
- internal alterations
- new buildings.
Watch our short and easy to follow video explaining the building regulations basics.
It depends on the project but for most major construction projects in your home, such as extensions and conversions, you'll need to make a building regs application so that your local building control team can visit the site and check that your work is compliant.
We also have a page on building control exemptions.
Most building projects - even small extensions, knock-throughs or improvements - need to comply with the Building Regulations. This applies in cases where planning permission is not needed. So have a look at Do I need a Building Regulations application? or ask for advice from your local council building control team.
Read more about reasons why building control services are important when you're carrying out major home improvement works.
When your application is approved by your local council building control team, you will usually be provided with an Inspection Service Plan before you start work. This outlines the stages of work that require inspection. It will vary depending on the size and complexity of your project, age of your home, the construction type, ground conditions and your builder’s experience.
You’ll need to inform your local council building control team when you start and when you reach the stages outlined in your Inspection Service Plan so the surveyors can carry out site visits.
Once the work has been completed to the satisfaction of your local building control team, you will be issued with a ‘Completion Certificate’ to show all the work is up to standard. Watch the video below for further details
For domestic work there is a choice of building control application routes, full plans, building notice and regularisation application for retrospective works. Read on for further information...
That will depend on the type of project, the type of application and the local council area you live in. All local council building control teams are only permitted to recover the cost of the work they carry out, they do not make a profit on their services.
This is in contrast to private Approved Inspectors who are allowed to make profits on the work they do. Contact your local council building control team to get more information.
Some types of minor building or improvement works like putting up sheds, car ports or porches don't need building regulations consent.
The general rule is that if they are small (less than 30m2), built of non-combustible material, are separated from nearby buildings or land and don't contain sleeping accommodation, they are exempt (visit our exemptions pages - link below). However it is always best to check with your local council building control team before starting work.
Other kinds of minor improvements - such as installing central heating can be carried out by competent persons. Visit the competent persons’ website.
If you're looking to do home improvements to make your property more energy efficient read this guide to find out more about when the building regs apply.
The building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.
They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings. Watch our short video to find out more...
For an application by Building Notice, there are no detailed plans to inspect and approve so you can start work as soon as the notice is accepted - usually within 48 hours.
With a Full Plans application the plans have to be thoroughly examined before being approved. And by law a council must give a decision on an application within five weeks of receiving it (unless it's extended with your written consent), but usually it takes much less time than this.
Approval of building plans lasts for three years and if you don’t start work in that time your council may serve you with a notice declaring your plans to be “of no effect”– meaning you will need to submit a fresh application.
To find out the difference between a Building Notice and Full Plans visit What type of building
Guidance from the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in 2005 stated that if the building is a ‘small detached building’ , then the regulations don't apply to either its erection or any subsequent work done to it as long as it remains a small detached building.
DCLG further advised the only control is with regard to Parts G (sanitation, hot water and water efficiency) and P (electrical safety).
Building Regulations applications are needed for most construction projects:
- All new buildings except agricultural buildings
- Garages that are not fully detached and under 30 square metres
- All extensions no matter how small
- Some conservatories and porches (many are exempt but these must be separated from the house by doors and can’t be heated)
- Roof extensions, balconies and roof terraces
- Basements and basement extensions
- All loft conversions, roof extensions, balconies and roof terraces
- All garage conversions
- Barn conversions
- Subdividing a house into flats
- Converting flats back into a house
- Creating a ‘granny annex’
- Creating a new or
Your local building control team will be happy to provide advice and guidance on your home improvement building project.
Use our local authority search to find your local building control department by simply entering your property's postcode.
Yes. You should discuss any proposed building work with those neighbours who are most likely to be affected – either by the finished structure or the building process through things like noise or dust.
If your building plans involve shared walls or boundaries you may also need to get your neighbour’s formal agreement through a party wall agreement. See DCLG guidance.
If you think that your project will need approval you can apply to your local building control team by:
- Applying online through the Planning Portal.
- Filling in your council's online or offline application form. You can do this yourself at your local council office, by downloading and sending it by email, or online through their website, or in some cases over the phone. (Visit the council website or call your local team (find their details here) and they will guide you through the process.) You'll usually have to call to see what your project fee will be, and you can often pay using a debit or credit card or through the secure payments system of the council's website.
Yes. If your local council building control team judges the work not up to standard it has powers to order you to pull down or alter the work. Serious and persistent cases of failure to meet building standards can result in legal action and a fine.
If your home has been improved or extended by a previous owner, you will need to have the proper certification for it when you come to sell. If you do not have the relevant building certificates, then you can apply for ‘regularisation’ - retrospective approval. A local council building control surveyor will assess the work to see if it is up to standard and, if not, recommend improvements to bring it up to standard so they can issue the appropriate certificates. You will have to pay a fee to your local council. (View further information on regularisation.)
You'll need a regularisation certificate for any unauthorised building work. This is a retrospective application that your local authority will issue.
You'll find further details in No building regulations approval? What's the solution?
Plans you submit under Full Plans applications will only be rejected if they don't meet the technical requirements of the building regulations, or if you have not provided enough information to show compliance. You can submit plans showing corrected or omitted information.
If you don't agree with the interpretation of the regulatory requirements it's possible to apply to the Secretary of State for a determination provided the work hasn't already started. This will involve an additional cost and can be a lengthy process, so we strongly recommend discussing your plans with your local council if possible.
If the complaint is about your own building work, you should initially raise it with your builder. You should always use a reputable builder who is a member of a trade association - such as the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). The association has a published complaints procedure, which sets out what you can do if your building work has gone wrong.
Local council building control teams inspect building work and certify it meets building standards. If they find work is not up to minimum legal standards they have the power to require the builder to bring it up to the required level. So if you have concerns about the quality of work on your building site you should contact the local council building control team to discuss your concerns.
For general advice on consumers’ rights about
You may receive an enforcement notice from your local authority if they believe that building work in or around your home doesn’t comply with building regulations. What this means is that you'll have to rectify or even remove the work which is in breach of building regulations.
I've got an enforcement notice but I think my building work is compliant. What can I do?
If you feel that your work does comply you can appeal against the notice in two ways:
- Contact your local authority and request a report, which is written by a suitably qualified person, about the compliance of your work and try to reach agreement on the issues. In this case the 28 day period that the local authority gives you to alter or remove the building work is extended to 70 days.
- Take your appeal to the
This video explains what to do if you didn't get building regulation approval for your building work, and what to do if the property you want to buy hasn't had a building regulation application.
Yes, you can get retrospective building control approval. If you didn't apply for building regs approval for the work before, or perhaps building work carried out by the previous owner didn't have the relevant completion certificates, you can apply for 'regularisation' – retrospective approval.
This involves a local council building control surveyor visiting the site and assessing the work to see if it's up to standard and if not, recommend improvements to bring it up to standard so they can issue the appropriate certificates.
Find out more by visiting the following links:
- Retrospective regularisation applications
- No building regulations approval? What's the solution?
- Help – we didn't get permission for our building work! (Video)