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.


Reply: removal of chimney breast

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago

Hi there, thanks for sharing your question with us.

Yes, Building Regulations would apply to this work because it's a material alteration to the structure. Take a look at this popular article of ours in which this type of project is widely discussed:



No buildings regs on garage conversion

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago

We have put in an offer on a bungalow but just discovered that the vendor did not apply for building regs on a garage conversion. The garage is attached to the property and is now accessed directly from an adjacent bedroom. The vendor was reported to the LA who sent out an officer, who, according to the vendor, did not propose enforcement action because the vendor said the conversion was only used for storage. When we viewed the property, the converted area had a new front window, was carpeted, had heating and was being used as a sitting room. Even if the LA are not enforcing (and the vendor could not provide evidence of this), am I right to be concerned about the quality of the build, safety etc. I contacted my current household insurers who advised they would not pay out in the event of damage, fire etc unless statutory regulation in place. An indemnity policy is useless in real terms and in this case could not be issued as the LA already is aware of the conversion. We do not need a mortgage but assume lenders would be reluctant to lend as well.

(No subject)

Submitted 1 year 8 months ago


Thank you for the enquiry.

You may wish to contact the local Building Control team to verify the position with respect to Building Regulations for this specific garage conversion.

There are time limits in which Local Authorities need to take enforcement action. If the conversion work was completed some time ago, but after 11th November 1985, there is also the option for the vendor or yourself to apply for a Regularisation Certificate from the Local Authority. You can also talk to the local Building Control team about this.


Replacing Front Door

Submitted 1 year 8 months ago

Hello thee, I wish to replace the front door on my property that is a house that was converted to flats (with full building control etc) 17 years ago.
Do I need building control for this work If i use a reputable window and door installer?


Wooden Annex

Submitted 1 year 7 months ago

My neighbour built a wooden Annex close to my boundary under retrospective planning later it gained consent which was reduced to 36.3 square metres with a sleeping area.
The closest point to my boundary is 600mm and with a total length of 7.7 m wooden cladding.
Also there was a tree in its place he chopped down
And dug out over 800 mm against my boundary to try and reduce this height to gain under retrospective planning this is against a LeylandIi confit hedge, this area has high placidity clay and this concrete base is 7 inches deep filled with bricks. I thought this had to be further away and this concrete base deeper kind regards


Submitted 1 year 7 months ago


Thank you for your query.

As the annex contains sleeping accommodation it is not exempt from the building regulations and a building regulations application should have been made regarding its construction. If you have concerns about the compliance of your neighbour's building it would be best to raise this with your local authority building control team who may be able to provide further information. You can find them by entering the postcode of the property in the 'find your council' bar at the top of our website.

Kind regards,

Dalila, LABC

Carport size - corrected question

Submitted 1 year 6 months ago

I notice that the exemption mentioned for carports above does not mention a size as it does for all other building types), is this because a carport is assumed to have no "floor"?
The reason I ask is that I am considering building a detached flat roofed single garage / workshop, combined with a carport for a second car (which would be open on two sides), they would be built from steel "I" beams in a modernist style, and share structural elements (there would be roof beams that traverse the entire width of the structure). This would be built in the back garden of my housee

The garage would be approximately 25m2 in floor area, and have a concrete floor. The carport would be approximately 18m2, and would have no floor, just gravel over grade, as per the rest of my driveway.

The interpretation section of the building regulations part 1 document implies that this building would not need approval as the carport has no "floor", the paragraph clarifying floor area states;

“floor area” means the aggregate area of every floor in a building or extension, calculated by reference to the finished internal faces of the walls enclosing the area, or if at any point there is no such wall, by reference to the outermost edge of the floor.

Is my interpretation correct, that the building would be exempt from needing approval, as the area enclosed by walls or having a floor, adds up to less than 30m2?
I understand that planning permission may be required, and that this is a separate issue from building regulation approval.
Best regards, James.

A Ground floor flat for the use of the Steward of a golf club

Submitted 1 year 5 months ago

Hi I am working on a project to demolish an existing & construct a new 2 storey golf club house and they want an integral 1 bed flat at ground floor, can I have the access directly from within the club house with fire escape windows from the lounge & bedroom or does it need a separate entrance from outside as well. What standard do the walls between the flat and club house need to meet, ditto the first floor over the flat

Car port or garage?

Submitted 1 year 5 months ago

Hello, I am hoping to extend my existing car port by around 3m to one side. The car port is open on one side, but I can see in your guidelines that car ports should be open on two sides. Does this mean it is in fact, a garage? And if so, would the extension require building regs?

Constructed substantially of non-combustible materials

Submitted 1 year 5 months ago


I am planning on building a 6.2 x 5m garden room (internal area will be 27.5m2 just about). The external walls will all be built on Durox Supabloc fire resistant lightweight blocks, the roof will be a warm flat roof composed of:

11mm OSB top deck
100mm celotex
18mm OSB sub deck
220mm C24 joists

It will be 1m away from boundary, (one particular corner about 90cm) would I be alright with the definition of "Constructed substantially of non-combustible materials"?

Thank you

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