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.



Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hello there

Many thanks for your enquiry.

Your local building control team will need to advise on this one - you can find their contact details by typing your postcode into the postcode search box in the top right hand of any page on this website.

Kind regards

Julie, LABC


Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hello there

Thanks for leaving your comment. You'll need to speak to your local building control about this one - you can get their direct contact details by entering your postcode into the search box at the top of this page.

Kind regards
Julie, LABC

Garage part conversion

Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hi there,
I intend to convert 2/3 of my garage into a utility room, leaving the front 3rd as a garage/store. Do I need building Regs to complete this work?

It's an integrated garage (apart from the 3rd that will be retained as a garage/store, which also has a flat roof).
This will entail knocking a doorway through a non-load bearing wall into an existing cupboard, which is in the hall. The floor will be raised to meet the inside of the house level. There will be a partition wall built with 100mm rigid insulation plus fire retardant plasterboard on the garage/store side. The utility ceiling will also be fire retardant plasterboard and the walls plasterboard over batons and rigid insulation. The floor will be 150mm rigid insulation over the existing concrete sub floor, with 40mm MDF floorboards on top, then covered with a vinyl flooring or tiling/laminate flooring.

Would this be classed as permitted development?

Many thanks in advance and kind regards,



Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hello there

Thanks for leaving your comment.

It is a change of use under the building regulations and the room will need to meet all the relevant requirements for an integrated part of the dwelling. That includes but isn't necessarily exclusive to; structure, fire safety, moisture control, ventilation, water supply and drainage, and thermal performance.

Kind regards
Barry, LABC

Covered way next to boundary fence

Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hi. My neighbour would like to erect a narrow covered way between his house and my boundary fence. My boundary fence in turn sits on top of a 60cm retaining wall. Are there any building regs or planning constraints around keeping the boundary fence free of water shedding off the roof of the covered way? Or any other considerations? Thanks.


Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hello there - thanks for leaving your comment.

The covered way would be considered exempt under the Building Regulations if it's single storey and has an internal floor area less than 30m2. If it's over this size, building control consent would be required.

If the fence/wall is a party fence, and your neighbour may need to give notice of their intention to carry out the work, in accordance with the Party wall etc. Act 1996. There may also be planning considerations. Because these aren't matters for Building Control, I suggest you contact Citizens Advice and your local planning department, respectively.

If the covered way is likely to bring water onto your property, this may create a nuisance and this is something the local authority's environmental health section would deal with. Again, I would suggest you make enquiries with your local council.

As always, the best advice is to discuss any concerns you have with your neighbour if possible and come to an agreement on a way to proceed which you are both happy with. Although, of course any works should be in accordance with all necessary planning or environmental requirements.

Kind regards
Richard, LABC

Neighnours loft conversion - No buiding regulations

Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

My neighbour has converted the loft and has now put it up for sale, was advertised as 3/4 bedrooms but after speaking to estate agent and confirming no building regulations reverted to 3 bedroom, but still advertising that room can be used as playroom/study. Has a fixed ladder not staircase. How legal is this?

Toilets in a listed building

Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Do the regulations specifying how many toilets are required in commercial premises apply if the building is listed?

Underfloor seating

Submitted 1 year 3 months ago

Hi I am doing my house up I have done an extension and I have got building control to check it all. I wanted to know if I was to lower the floor level of my living room so I could put my sofa in the floor. Would I need building control consent. The floor is made of timer joist and has space under it so no digging would be required I want to go down about 60cm.


Submitted 1 year 3 months ago

Hello there - thanks for your comment.

It sounds like an interesting project you are considering. Whilst you may not be undertaking any excavations, you will need to reinstate a new floor, where you intend to lower the existing, be that a suspended timber or solid concrete floor.

There may also be issues regards maintaining ventilation to the existing sub-floor void. Our advice is to contact your local authority building control team, discuss what you intend to do and let them advise you on the specifics of the scheme and the application process, they will be more than happy to help.

You can find their direct contact details by using the postcode search in the top righthand corner of this page.

Richard, LABC

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