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.


Alcove Built for Wood Burner

Submitted 8 months 2 weeks ago

We built an alcove - 1m wide, 0.69m deep and 0.91m heigh to house a wood burning stove (flue goes through the top of the alcove and is then external up the side of the house). Do we require building certification for the alcove alongside that for the stove? Many Thanks

Kitchen/Diner wall

Submitted 8 months ago

Do I need building regs to remove a non-loadbearing wall that has a doorway that separates the kitchen and the dining room? We'd like to make it all open plan.

Removal wall in timber frame house

Submitted 7 months ago

A previous owner has removed an internal wall in a timber framed house to open kitchen/ living room when replacing kitchen units. He did not get building regs approval as builder didn’t think he needed it. Should this have been approved?


Submitted 7 months ago

I am replacing my drains around the house as they are leaking, do I need a building regulation application if they are the same size and layout as before?

In reply to by Tracy Jackson (not verified)


Submitted 6 months 2 weeks ago

Hello there - thanks for leaving your comment.

If there are no alterations or new connections then no, you won't need to make a building regulations application.

Kind regards
Julie, LABC

Kitchen diner

Submitted 6 months 3 weeks ago

Hello when we moved to our property we noticed that the kitchen an dining room had been extended. The kitchen is a narrow galley kitchen and the rooms have been separated by a half brick half plasterboard wall which also contains an old window inbetween. Would we need building regs to remove this wall?


Submitted 6 months ago

Hello there - thanks for leaving your comment.

The removal of the wall may have structural or fire related implications and therefore you should make an application to your LABC team for this work.

Kind regards
John, LABC

change of use of a window to a door

Submitted 6 months 2 weeks ago

allowing access to a small room, previously a study, to be used as a boot room. The door will be glazed with a window above to allow light. Appropriate locks and bolts to be added.
The house is a semi detached barn conversion.
Please confirm this is permitted without planning permission.
Thank you


Submitted 6 months ago

Hello there - thanks for leaving your comment.

You will need to speak to your local authority planning department to determine if there are any specific requirements for planning permission.

With respect to building regulations, you'll need to notify building control about the new door if the glazed area exceeds 50% of the door area - also if the proposed work has any impact on structural or fire safety. To find the direct contact details for your building control department use the postcode search at the top of this page. They should also be able to put you in contact with the planning department.

Kind regards
Trevor, LABC

Updating old conservatory

Submitted 5 months 4 weeks ago

We want to update our old brick/wood conservatory by bricking up one side of the wall completely. Brick up the 3rd side with one large window and put nee double doors in. The roof will be changed to a rubber flat roof with a sky lantern. We are keeping the doors into the house so the conservatory will remain a separate building. Would we still need building regs for this?

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