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.


New door

Submitted 1 year ago

We need to change a window to a door and block up the area in which the existing door is in the back of our house. The back door will lead into a conservatory with no heating from the house. Would this need planning permission or an inspection if we keep the existing door but move it over?

In reply to by Joanne (not verified)


Submitted 12 months ago

Hello there - thanks for getting in touch with LABC.

It’s unlikely you will require planning permission for the works you describe (but you are advised to check with your local authority planning department). Building regulations will apply to repositioning the openings into the conservatory and so you are advised to contact your local authority building control team – to discuss the submission of an application and arranging for a pre-commencement inspection.

Kind regards
Richard, LABC

Advice on covering up the side access of my detached property.

Submitted 12 months ago

I live in a semi detached property that has a gated side access. My neighbours house is not joined, but divided by walls for each property. My neighbour has sealed his access with a polycarbonate roof with guttering. Each end is enclosed and have doors. His back door opens up into the enclosure.

My house had a similar enclosure approximately 20 years ago but was taken down . However, I now want to rebuild it like before and would like to know whether there is any restrictions to this project. It will be the same as my neighbours but with more modern materials.


Small Extension

Submitted 12 months ago

I am seeking advice if possible.
We are thinking of extending our single storey detached garage at the back for a garden room/utility. With a WC and sink in it as well.

The current size of the garage is 3.6m wide x 7m long

And we would like to extend it out by 3m. keeping with 3.6m wide.

Would we need planning permission for these works?


Submitted 11 months 3 weeks ago

Hello there

You should speak to your local planning authority who'll be able to advise on this.

Kind regards
Julie, LABC

Summer house/Log Cabin in rear garden

Submitted 11 months 3 weeks ago

I have a query to which I cannot find a straight answer to. I am planning to build a summer house/Log Cabin in my back garden, the size should be of 20sqm (5x4m) and made of wood. It will be less than 2.5 high and about 0.8 m from the boundaries. I will not be used as an accommodation and will not cover more of 50% of the total garden area. Also it is not in a listed building or in a conservation area. I've tried to contact my local authority planning team but they just redirect me to the planning portal website that does not give a proper answer to my query. Do I need to seek planning permission or building regulation approval to erect this summer house?
Many thanks


Submitted 11 months ago

Hello there - thanks for leaving your comment.

We are unable to respond to queries in relation to planning consent. However the structure proposed will only be exempt from building regulations if it is at least 1m from any boundary because it's built from combustible material. If it was built from masonry instead it could be positioned on the boundary. Hope this is of use.

Kind regards
David, LABC

Brick built outbuilding

Submitted 11 months 2 weeks ago

Hello. If anyone could help I’d be very grateful! I want to build a brick built outbuilding .5m from the boundary. It would be 5.5m x 4.2m and the height would be 2.5m. As it’s made of brick (non combustible) does that come under permitted development?! The local council are saying I may need building regs approval as it’s closet than 1m. I’m very confused!!


Submitted 11 months 1 week ago

Hello there - thanks for your comment.

There are two pieces of legislation administered by local authorities that impact on building development work that are often confused; The Town and Country Planning Act and The Building Regulations. There is little correlation between the two and exemption from one does not give automatic exemption from the other.

Permitted development is a term used in conjunction with Town & Country Planning Act legislation. However, the building described would also need to be considered under the Building Regulations. Providing the floor area does not exceed 30m sq, the building does not contain sleeping accommodation and is constructed substantially of non-combustible material (brick/block satisfies this requirement), this would also be exempt from control under the building regulations with no minimum distance to the boundary.

Kind regards
Barry, LABC

statutory requirements for rebuild replacement attachedgarage

Submitted 11 months ago

I would be grateful if you are able to help with the following:
Our property has an attached single garage, constructed of pre-cast concrete panels, that has suffered subsidence damage to the foundation slab and side wall.
The garage is located on clay sub-soil of NHBC 'medium volume change potential' within the NHBC 'zone of influence' of a tree which is remaining.
Could you please advise what are the minimum statutory Building Regulations and Standards (and any NHBC guidelines) a rebuilt/replacement garage would need to comply with in the case where;
1. The existing garage was repaired on its current foundation (8 inch thick concrete slab )
2. The garage was rebuilt on new foundations.
Thank you in advance for your assistance

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