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 at least one metre from any boundary unless 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.


Getting building certificate with external doors to extension

Submitted 2 years 1 month ago

Hi, thanks for your enquiry.

Whether or not the conservatory is exempt must be determined by your local building control team who will be glad to provide advice.

You can find them here: — simply enter your postcode and click 'Search'.

Kind regards,


Non-domestic single storey building

Submitted 2 years ago

Can you erect a stand-alone single storey building for ancillary use to a business, more than 1m. from boundary, detached from main building without the need for a warrant?

Reply to: Non-domestic single storey building

Submitted 2 years ago

Hi there, thanks for the enquiry.

Approval under the Building Regulations isn't required for the following:

1. a detached building under 15m²; or
2. a detached building up to 30m² that contains no sleeping accommodation that is not less than 1m from the boundary or is constructed substantially of non-combustible materials.

The building may still need planning permission.


John, LABC

garage conversion

Submitted 1 year 11 months ago

I would like to convert my detached garage into a games room, which would include blocking up the old wooden garage doors. Would I need to apply for building control for this?

Reply to: garage conversion

Submitted 1 year 11 months ago

Hi there, thanks for your question.

In accordance with Regulation 9.(1), if the garage was previously exempt as a building described in Schedule 2 of the Building Regulations 2010 and will continue to be a building described in Schedule 2 after the work is carried out, you won't need to make a building regulations application. Link to Schedule 2:

If work is carried out so that a hot or cold water supply from a non-exempt building, or the electrical supply from a dwelling is shared with the garage, that work must comply with the Building Regulations and you'll need to make an application.


Dalila, LABC

Timber Garage

Submitted 1 year 11 months ago

What are the building regs for a timber garage (ie combustible) if less than 30m2 but more than 15m2 if placed more than 1m from a boundary?

Reply to: Timber Garage

Submitted 1 year 11 months ago

Hi there, thanks for your question.

A timber garage of less than 30m², situated more than one metre from the boundary is exempt, except for the requirements that continue to apply according to Regulation 9 (Link: Your local authority building control team may be able to provide further site-specific advice – you can find them by entering the postcode of the property in the 'find your council' bar at the top of our website.


Dalila, LABC

Barn/installation of toilets/showers

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago


To comply with our campsite licence requirements we have to install toilets/showers and therefore permitted development rights allow us to use a corrugated barn that we own to achieve this. It is over 30m squared in area but we only plan to use part of it i.e. mixed use. There is electric/sewage available but will we need to inform building control if we install toilets etc. ourselves? Also if we use prefab units i.e plug and play then no construction/building will take place - again do they need to be informed?

Hope you can help!!?

Many thanks,


Reply to: Barn/installation of toilets/showers

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago

Hi there, many thanks for your question.

For your specific campsite development it would be best to seek advice from your local building control team. You can find them here: — simply enter the postcode of the campsite and click 'Search'.



removal of chimney breast

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago

can you tell me if Building regs are required for removal of a chimney and chimney breast from a single storey property. The property is detached and only the roof space is above it. Original construction is around 1970.

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