How to get building control approval and book inspections
Below is everything you'll need to know about how to make a building regulations application. Read through and watch the videos or skip to the relevant content by clicking the links below:
What type of application do I need?
For domestic work there is a choice of application routes, Full Plans, Building Notice & Regularisation Application for retrospective works.
If you wish to have your plans checked and approved before the work starts, to avoid any costly errors and corrective work on site by not being fully up to speed with the ever changing regulations, we recommend you apply using Full Plans form.
An 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 authority will check your plans and consult any appropriate authorities.
If your plans comply with the building regulations you will receive a notice stating that they have been approved. If your local authority 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 authority.
If your plans are rejected the reasons will be stated in the notice. A full plans approval notice is valid for three years from the date of deposit of the plans
If the work is uncomplicated and you are happy that you or your builder has a reasonably good understanding of the regulations, then you can use a Building Notice form. The advantage of the building notice procedure is that detailed drawings are not formally required for approval, although some details such as structural calculations may be required. You may start work 48 hours after your notice has been received by the local authority.
Plans are not required with this process so it’s quicker and less detailed than the full plans application. It is designed to enable some types of building work to get under way quickly; although it is perhaps best suited to small or basic work.
There are also specific exclusions in the regulations as to when building notices cannot be used in relation to domestic work, a building notice cannot be used:
- For work which will be built close to or over the top of rain water and foul drains shown on the 'map of sewers'
- Where a new building will front onto a private street
A 'building notice' is valid for three years from the date the notice was given to the local authority, after which it will automatically lapse if the building work has not commenced.
Retrospective regularisation applications
If the work has already recently started or possibly even been completed without proper consent, then a retrospective application can be made using a Regularisation form.
You can even use this if the work was carried out by a former owner. Any work can potentially be regularised as long as it was carried out after the 11 November 1985.
The purpose of the process is to regularise the unauthorised works and obtain a certificate of regularisation. Depending on the circumstances, exposure, removal and/or rectification of works may be necessary to establish compliance with the building regulations.
It's best to contact your local authority building control team to discuss your individual circumstances before submitting a regularisation application.
How do I apply for building control approval?
If you think that your project will need approval you can apply to your local building control team in several ways such as:
- In the majority of applications the building control team will check and approve the plans before work starts.
- Whichever type of application, a building control surveyor will come out and inspect the work at various stages giving advice and guidance to your builder and peace of mind for you. The stages they'll need to see will usually be agreed in advance.
Read more about why building control is important here.
When will my work be inspected?
The stages of inspection will usually be agreed in advance and might include:
- Intermediate stages: Different types of projects will require different inspections which might include foundations, the floor, damp proofing to walls and floors, the roof structure, any drainage, structural beams and openings, fire proofing and thermal insulation.
- Completion: The main purpose of this stage is to make sure the work meets the various building regulations before it is occupied and put into use. When the surveyor is happy with the work they will issue you with a completion certificate, free of charge. This is an important document used by solicitors/personal search agents when you come to sell the property and by mortgage lenders and property insurers.