When does a replacement kitchen or bathroom need building regulations approval?

07.12.2018
Blog Post
Replacement kitchen - Building Regulations application

The majority of domestic like for like replacement kitchens or bathrooms won't need any form of building regulations approval, but if you're modifying the existing layout then approval may be needed.

This might be due to (from the Building Regulations):

"3(b) the provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting in or in connection with a building;
3(c) the material alteration of a building, or a controlled service or fitting;
3(d) work required by regulation 6 (requirements relating to material change of use);"

A "controlled service or fitting" means;
"A service or fitting in relation to which Part G (Sanitation, hot water safety & water efficiency), H (Drainage & Waste Disposal), J (Combustion appliances & fuel storage systems), L (Conservation of fuel & power) or P (Electrical safety) of Schedule 1 imposes a requirement."

"None of the work, or any part of it, should at any stage result in not complying with or being more unsatisfactory with a relevant requirement where previously it did."

Confused?!

So what does it mean and just how is it relevant to replacement kitchens and bathrooms?

Are you undertaking the provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting?

Does this require building regulations approval?

If you move the boiler to another location. Yes (Part J)
If you leave the boiler where it is but extend the flue.  Yes (Part J)

If you install a new gas appliance. 

Yes (Part J)

If you relocate the sink. 

Yes, if the installation of the fitting or fittings will involve alterations to, or new connections to, a drainage stack or an underground drain, the above ground wastes and drains are controllable (Part H). So is the installation of hot water and wholesome water to the sink (Part G).

If you relocate the bathroom appliances. 

Yes, if the installation of the fitting or fittings will involve alterations to, or new connections to, a drainage stack or an underground drain, the above ground wastes and drains are controllable (Part H). So is the installation of hot water and wholesome water to the bath, shower, wash basin and bidet. (Part G).
If you replace a window or external door.  Yes, this is a renovation of a thermal element (Part L1B)
If you install a new window or external door.  Yes (Part L1B)
If you install an electrical circuit. 

Yes (Part P)
 

If you install or alter fixed electrical equipment in the kitchen. Yes, if the circuit is within the 'special location' measured 2.25m vertically from the floor or shower head (if higher) and within 600mm of any bath tub or shower tray (Part P).
If you install or alter fixed electrical equipment in the kitchen. No, this is non-notifiable work unless a new circuit is provided e.g. installing a new built-in cooker or prefabricated modular lighting is non-notifiable unless a new circuit is required. The work still falls within the scope of (Part P) and should be certificated in accordance with BS7671 and local authorities can still take enforcement action if they consider the work non-compliant and unsafe.
If you install an extract fan.  Yes, if it requires a new electrical circuit, the extract should go to outside where possible (Part P).

Are you carrying out a material alteration ?

Removing load bearing walls to accommodate a new layout is a structural alteration. Design and fire resistance will be needed for the new lintel, bearings and foundations may need to be examined for suitability.

Removing doors (or non-load bearing walls) between the kitchen and other rooms, particularly to a staircase, will affect means of escape (B1). Additional precautions in other parts of the property may be needed such as escape windows, interlinked smoke and heat detection, and additional fire resistance (B3). Alternatively you may need to retain the door(s) so it is no worse than before. (Both in Part B.)

Are you carrying out a material change of use?

This classification involves the creation of a dwelling, subdivision to create more than one dwelling or flat or room for residential purposes. The installation of a second kitchen would indicate this likely use and building regulations approval would be required and possibly planning permission.

Could alterations alter the status of a building?

Other than change of use (above), a request may also be received to install a kitchen in a conservatory. Some conservatories are exempt from the requirement for a building regulations application unless the external doors are being removed or the opening widened to open it up to the main house. This removes the exemption status enjoyed by the conservatory and approval is needed.

If that happens, it reverts to an extension of the main house and thermal compliance will be difficult to achieve because of the excessive glazing. An open kitchen/dining space is a popular alteration to properties and care is needed to ensure compliance is possible.

If your building is listed in some way, for its architectural or historic interest and/or is located in a sensitive urban or rural environment (e.g. a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty), then alterations may require additional consent from the planning department.

Remember the reference "Not complying with or being more unsatisfactory with a relevant requirement where previously it did"? This means that the works must not make fabric, services and fittings less compliant than they previously were – or dangerous.

For example, the provision of replacement double glazing must not worsen compliance in relation to: means of escape; air supply for combustion appliances and their flues; and ventilation for health.

Electrical installations must not worsen compliance in relation to:

  • structure (depth of chases in walls, notches in floor and roof joists)
  • fire safety (provision of detection systems, fire resistance of penetrations through floors and walls)
  • site preparation (resistance of service penetrations to rainwater and radon)
  • sound (service penetrations on party walls)
  • ventilation
  • thermal (use of energy efficient lighting)
  • access (heights of sockets and switches)

If you're in any doubt then speak to your Local Authority building control team who can offer advice and guidance on how to comply.

Find your local authority's contact details here

Further information

Homeowners, find out much more about how the building regulations apply to your other projects such as:

 

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.

Comments

Reply to: Changes done without building regulations application

Submitted 1 year 10 months ago

Hi Anastazja, thanks for your question.

Please contact your local building control team who can offer advice and guidance on the work you've done. You can find your local team by entering your postcode in the 'find your council' bar at the top of our website.

Regards,

LABC

Kitchen ceiling

Submitted 1 year 10 months ago

In case of a total kitchen refurbish is it necessary for the ceilings to be made of fire resistant plasterboard? Or can I use normal plasterboard?

Reply to: Kitchen ceiling

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago

Hi there, thanks for your enquiry.

The type and thickness of plasterboard used will need to maintain the same period of fire resistance and sound insulation, that the existing ceiling achieved. Your local building control team will be pleased to provide free pre-application advice – you can find them by entering the postcode of your project in the 'find your council' bar at the top of our website.

Regards,

John, LABC

Alteration to bathroom/kitchen

Submitted 1 year 6 months ago

I had the kitchen moved into the dining room and made the kitchen a bathroom 9 months ago. If I apply now for building regs is it likely the LA will ask me to put it back to its original use - even if it’s all been done correctly?

Reply to: Alteration to bathroom/kitchen

Submitted 1 year 6 months ago

Hi there, thanks for your comment.

To answer your question, no – if you apply for a regularisation (retrospective building control sign off) the council may ask you to undertake some works to ensure compliance but this will not mean returning the rooms to their original use.

Kind regards,

Cathal, LABC

New/ replacement shower screens

Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hi, Please can you advise whether a newly installed shower screen would need to meet the requirements of Part K? (as far as breaking safely) There is no mention of shower screens anywhere in the AD however the Requirement does state 'glazing in and about the building'. Many thanks, Jenny

Reply to: New/ replacement shower screens

Submitted 1 year 4 months ago

Hi, thanks for your question.

Requirement K4 of the Building Regulations 2010 deals with protection against impact with glazing with which people are likely to come into contact whilst moving in or about the building. This can include protection against impact with shower screens. Your local authority building control team will be able to provide further advice for your project, find them here: https://www.labc.co.uk/your-local-council-building-control-department — simply enter the property postcode and click 'Search'.

Regards,

Dalila, LABC

Galley kitchen

Submitted 1 year 3 months ago

Is there a minimum distance between the 2 faces of of the bottom units thanks colin

Reply to: Galley kitchen

Submitted 1 year 3 months ago

Hi there, thanks for your question.

Within a newly erected dwelling where the planning permission has specified that it must be accessible in accordance with M4(2) or M4(3) of the Building Regulations 2010, access within the kitchen should allow sufficient space for wheelchair users. See Approved Document M volume 1 para. 2.24 (where M4(2) applies) or paras. 3.32-3.34 (where M4(3) applies) — link: https://bit.ly/35WZjOf.

Where no relevant planning condition has been applied or where the property is an existing dwelling undergoing a material alteration there is no specified minimum distance between kitchen cabinets.

Your local authority building control team will be able to provide further project-specific advice, find them here: https://www.labc.co.uk/your-local-council-building-control-department — simply enter the property postcode and click 'Search'.

Regards,

Dalila, LABC

Ventilation Requirements : 'moved ' bathrooms in flat

Submitted 1 year 2 months ago

The owner of a leasehold flat ( below my retained loft ) applied for Building regulation approval to move walls and relocate the bathroom about a metre away from the existing bathroom. That meant that about 50% was inside the existing bathroom but the the other 50% was outside it. The original bathroom technically had an extract ventilator ( possibly not working?) discharging directly into my loft . NB the bathroom was never used for bathing - just as toilet/ cloakroom in the previous 25 years . After it was moved by the current leaseholder - the extractor was effectively outside the bathroom.
At all times, before and during the works Building Control were adamant and the leaseholder agreed that he had to install external ventilation as the works were not just replacing the sanitary etc units. ( ie I assumed PART F para 7.12. - 7.15 applied .. and Wet room meant bathroom? ) . However, I have just disclovered that a Building control officer then told the leaseholder that external ventilation was not necessary and he could use the 'existing ventilation' ( I assume under PART F 7.21 ). I am v unhappy as he has increased the steam potentially going into the loft by a lot! i.e by also adding an extra bedroom with more users and with a more modern possibly power shower ( rather than a 1960s attachment to the taps ) a lot more steam will be generated and my roof and loft timber and stored belongings will be at risk .
The local building control officer is being a bit defensive and say their certificate of completion that refers to the work approved as 'Renovation of the pre existing flat to include : refit of kitchen and bathroom . Replacement of Internal walls. ' covers the ventilation requirements . The walls referred to were walls taken down and replaced in different positions to accommodate the changed location of the bathroom .

Any ideas?. How much discretion does the local authority have? i appreciate that a certificate only covers what they see and the onus is on the person doing the work but not sure where I stand in insisting that he does not risk my roof/loft .




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