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

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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."


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.



Submitted 1 year 1 month ago


Thanks for posting your comment.

Because LABC is a member organisation and doesn't control the operations of individual local authorities, any disagreement with a decision made by a local authority building control department must follow that local authority’s complaints procedure. Details will be available from the authority’s website or general enquiry desk.

Kind regards,


Building notice for a flat

Submitted 8 months 3 weeks ago

My council's building control forms state "This only applies for houses occupied as single private dwellings". Does "houses" exclude flats? If so, where can I find the application and approval process for flats?


Submitted 8 months 3 weeks ago

Hello there - thanks for your comment.

Your council's building control team will be able to help with that one. You can find their direct contact details by using the postcode search on the top righthand corner of this page.

Kind regards
Julie, LABC

Share of Freehold in Purpose Built Block of Flats

Submitted 7 months 3 weeks ago

Apologises if this is the wrong forum to ask, but I am at a bit of a loss.

I bought a 1 bedroom GF flat in February 2020 with share of freehold (Remaining leasehold is 959 years), It does not say in the deeds that I cannot relocate the kitchen but out of politeness I have asked the management company for the application process. It is now July and the management company has changed twice and the latest management company haven't responded to my query re: the application process in the 40 days since their appointment. I sent the latest management company a letter on the day they started. I haven't been able to able to approach the board or join the management company because of COVID they have not and do not intend to arrange a AGM for some time... that's another issue that I won't go into.

I bought the flat knowing I would need to renovate and my kitchen is falling apart, current using a counter top halogen oven as the existing oven is broken) and having been working from home since March, I would like to create an office study as I have been told going forward I will be working from home a minimum of 4 days a week as my job can be done remotely.

I have a large open plan L-Shaped front room and proposed to "relocate my kitchen" to a part of this creating a open plan living room / kitchen like a lot of flats have, so I can create an office and actually switch off from work which seems to be taking over my life whilst in my front room. I don't have space in my bedroom to put a desk.

My proposed Kitchen relocation means;
- New cupboards
- Electric oven (No messing around with gas) with recirculating extractor (which is common in homes and flats have, plus the front room has full height openable windows and doors opening onto a garden)
- a kitchen Sink
- The boiler will remain in existing location
- The washing machine will remain in its existing location
- There will be no external penetrations affecting the exterior of the building

How do I go about applying to change this as 5.5months later I am still none the wiser?

Again apologises if this is the wrong forum to ask, just not sure what to do with lack of response from my management company!

Thank you so much for any advice you may have.


Submitted 7 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you for getting in touch with LABC.

I am sorry you have not had a response from your management company, but you are likely to need formal approval from them before undertaking any renovation works.

The location of the kitchen is a critical factor when it comes to fire safety in flats and so I would advise you discuss your proposals with your local council’s building control team, I am sure they would be happy to advise.

I trust you find this response useful.

Kind regards
Richard, LABC

Sunken bath

Submitted 7 months 1 week ago

I'm looking at putting in a sunken pit in my wet room. I live in a bungalow. This may involve taking out some joists and putting in a frame. Am I legally allowed to do this?


Submitted 7 months 1 week ago

Hello there

Thanks for leaving your comment.

Creation of the pit may not in itself be building work for the purposes of building regulations. However, if there are any alterations to the foundations or substructure of the building, or any drainage to be provided, this work will be required to meet the requirements of the regulations.

Kind regards
Barry, LABC

Building Regs - Kitchen Space

Submitted 4 months 2 weeks ago

The Technical Handbook - Domestic Item 3.11.3 [Kitchens] state that an unobstructed maneuvering space of at least 1.5m x 1.5m is required.

I have installed a kitchen island which is only 1.2m space between the units and island, however minimum 800mm space is available all around the island. Is this acceptable?


Submitted 4 months 1 week ago

Hello there

The provisions described will only apply to a dwelling in England, constructed in accordance with a planning approval issued after 1st October 2015, with a condition requiring compliance with optional requirement M4(2) for accessible and adaptable dwellings.

For dwellings approved before this date or without such condition, there are no minimum space requirements for accessibility in the kitchen area.

Kind regards
Barry, LABC

New concealed shower

Submitted 3 months ago

Hello, I want to replace an exposed shower valve with concealed one, do I need building control approval?

Many thanks.

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