How to get it right: Building control exemptions (or when you DON'T need building regulations approval)

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Exempt sign image - building control exemptions - when you don't need building control approval

While we love to be involved, there are times when you won’t need a Building Regulations application. Whether you are carrying out building work yourself, or employing a builder, there are a number of building regulations exemptions to both work and buildings that don't need building control approval. 

The following is intended as a guide but you should always check with your local LABC team if you're in any doubt or need clarification. You can also view Planning Portal’s interactive guides for more information.

Remember, these exemptions only relate to building control applications and you may need to apply for planning permission separately, particularly if you live in, or are carrying out work, to a property that is listed or within a conservation area.

Work that does not need building control approval

  • Maintenance work
  • Minor repairs
  • Replacing less than 25 per cent of an item, like-for-like
  • Additional power or lighting points and switches (except around baths and showers)
  • Alterations to existing circuits (except around baths and showers)
  • Like-for-like replacements of baths, toilets, basins or sinks
  • Boundary or garden walls, fences and gates
  • In some cases, works that are being carried out by competent registered persons (check details for this with your local LABC team)

Buildings that do not need building control approval

  • Greenhouses (providing they are not used for retail, packing or exhibiting)
  • Some agricultural buildings (check with your local LABC team)
  • Temporary buildings (erected for less than 28 days)
  • Some ancillary buildings such as estate sales buildings and building site offices without sleeping accommodation
  • Some small detached buildings (check with your local LABC team)
  • Buildings that are not frequented by people (check with your local LABC team)
  • Detached single storey buildings, including garages, that are less than 30m2 floor area and contain no sleeping accommodation, and are at least one metre from any boundary or constructed of non-combustible materials
  • Detached single storey buildings that are less than 15m2 floor area
  • An extension to a building at ground level consisting of a porch of less than 30m2 floor area and separated from the house by an external type door
  • A carport open on at least two sides
  • A covered yard or covered way less than 30m2
  • A conservatory or porch that is less than 30m2, with a significant proportion of the roof and walls glazed (no % given), it must be at ground level, it must comply with relevant sections of Part K (glazing), be thermally separated from the dwelling by external quality windows and/or doors and the buildings heating system must not be extended into the conservatory or porch.
  • Crown property
  • Buildings subject to the Explosives Act
  • Buildings other than houses or offices erected on a site licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act
  • Buildings included in the Schedule to Section 1 of the Ancients Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act

Don’t forget that you might still need approval for any enabling works. For example creating a wider opening into an exempt conservatory would still need approval for the structural alteration to widen the opening.

Further information

For further guidance on getting building control approval visit the Planning Portal’s free guide.


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the user’s professional judgement. It is the responsibility of the dutyholder or person carrying out the work to ensure compliance with relevant building regulations or applicable technical standards.


Building Notice

Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

It is the Building Notice arrangement which ought to be stopped, where its intended scope has widened even to new dwellings!

I wonder if any or cumulative notices applied at Grenfell?

This system leaves building inspectors in effect as the designers with liabilities attached, where often small builders do not want thorough plans undertaken and rely heavily upon building control to give constant advice.

I fully support LABC and am a 'partner ' with them.


Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

Surely the porch dimension is a mistake you have 30 square mtrs, when to my knowledge its always been 3 square mtrs.
Please confirm.


Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

Hello there and thanks for your comment. 30 square meters is correct I'm afraid - here's the extract from the regulation


Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

the 3m2 limit is pemiitted development for planning not building regulations. 30m2 is correct for building regs.


Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

We are proposing a single storey extension to the house which will be used as a 'Sun room' (with full height glazing to one side and blockwork walls to the the other sides). It is at ground level to the front but the rear glazed wall has steps leading down to the garden level. Will this still be excempt from Building Regulation Approval?

Sun room

Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

Hello there

Thanks for your comment.

If the sun room is attached and open to the house, it will not be exempt from the Building Regulations. Please contact your local authority who will be able to offer pre-application advice on your proposals and on how to submit a Building Regulation application.

If the sun room is to be separated from the house, it could be regarded as a conservatory and be exempt from control under the Building Regulations:

The extension of a building by the addition at ground level of-
a) a conservatory, porch, covered yard or covered way; or
b) a carport open on at least two sides;

where the floor area of that extension does not exceed 30m2, provided that in the case of a conservatory or porch which is wholly or partly glazed, the glazing satisfies the requirements of Part N of Schedule 1.

You may wish to contact your Local Authority Building Control to talk this through.

John Allen


Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

Hi, My builder has constructed an open on two sides front porch for us. The porch has a supporting timber post in one corner. The post has been bolted into the stone cappings that top off the brick walling.The post is 'floating' over the capping stone ( a gap of around five inches) set in with a securing bolt into the centre of the post. I would like to have a surrounding cover of wood or lead / iron / at the base of the post to give the appearance of the post meeting the stone cappings & disguise the bolt. The builder has said that this would not pass at LABC inspection because it can conduct water, although the post is set well under the roof. can you advise please.

In reply to by julie.mcnamee


Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

Hello there

As the porch is exempt from control under the Building Regulations, no LABC inspection will be carried out.

However, generally incorporating lead or timber at the base, particularly as it is under the roof, would not cause too much of a problem. There is a chance of some water dripping onto the wall which may cause some staining in time.

I hope that helps,

John Allen

Webmaster note

Submitted 5 years 8 months ago

All comments posted at an earlier date to this one have been transferred from our old website.

Extension conversion

Submitted 5 years 3 months ago

We're in the middle of converting an out building which is joined to our property into a toilet

Does this need to meet strict regulations as we feel the building inspector is being unreasonable due to the fact the building is already been built since 1970 and were just changing the use of the building

The main house was built over 300 years ago and this extension has been built around 1970

Any advice would be very helpful as he has already tried to get us to battern and board all the internal walls of the old building which is non compliant to regulations due to the age of charticistac of the building

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