Building Control Advice

What is the difference between Planning and Building Control?

If you want to carry out building work, you may require both Planning Permission and Building Regulations approval. Planning and Building Control are separate; if you get one you are not guaranteed the other. Planning has more to do with the appearance of a building or an extension to a building and how it relates its surroundings. Building Control aims to see that the building satisfies its functional requirements and provides reasonable health, safety and comfort for the building users.

When should I submit a Building Regulations application?

The construction of a building that is a dwelling or workplace, Extension or material alteration of a building that is a dwelling or workplace, Converting a building to a dwelling or workplace and Extending or altering a controlled service, e.g. drainage or a heating system that uses a gas, oil or solid fuel.

Do I have to pay for the service?

A fee or charge is payable to the local authority unless the work is exempt or where the works are for the sole benefit of a disabled person. Charges depend on the type of works proposed. 

Do I need permission for detached garage, detached car port, an attached car port or a garden shed?

In the majority of cases Building Regulations approval is not required but you should discuss your proposals with Building Control before you commence. In some circumstances an application may only be required for part of the works such as electrical installations. You should also contact the planning section to check whether you need Planning permission.

Do I need an application for converting a house to flats?

Yes. Applications are required for both Planning and Building Control.

Do I need an application to convert a garage to provide additional living space?

Yes. A building regulations application is required. A planning application may also be required.

Do I need to make an application to build a conservatory?

An application is not required for a conservatory erected at ground floor level, providing it has a floor area of less than 30 square metres and safety glazing is used throughout. To be considered a conservatory at least 75% of its roof and 50% of its outside walls made from glass or a translucent material, and it must be separated from the rest of the dwelling by external wall and door constructions.

Do I need to make an application to build a porch?

Porches are exempt providing the floor area is less than 30 square metres and the existing door (any windows/sidelights) to the property is retained in the existing position. If separation is not maintained it is considered an extension and an application will be required.

Do I need to make an application for re-roofing and renovation of thermal elements?

 A thermal element is described as a roof, wall or floor which separates a thermally conditioned (heated or cooled) space from any of the following:

  • The outside (including the ground), or
  • An unheated part of the same building, or
  • A structure exempt from the building regulations, such as a porch or conservatory, or
  • Part of the same building heated or cooled to a different temperature.

Renovation of a thermal element means adding a new layer to a thermal element or the replacement of an existing layer. When the renovation is more than 25% of the element concerned, Building Regulations approval will be required for carrying out the work and the thermal element may require upgrading to provide more insulation. If you intend to carry out any of the following works, you will require Building Regulation approval:

  • Renewal of roof covering (e.g. re-tiling, re-slating, replacing felt)
  • Renewal of cladding to external walls, or dormer cheeks
  • Replacement internal or external finishes to walls (e.g. re-plastering, dry lining, external render)
  • Renovation or replacement floors (involving the replacement of screed or timber deck floor)
  • Re-plastering of a wall
  • Renewal of a ceiling below a cold loft space.

Do I need to make an application for underpinning, removing an internal wall, removing a chimney breast, cavity wall insulation or additional/relocated bathrooms?


Underpinning is classed as ‘building work’ and as such will require an application under the Building Regulations.

Removing an internal wall

The need for an application will depend on whether the wall to be removed is loadbearing or not and its effect on the means of escape from the property.  Loadbearing means that some part of a first floor, roof or wall on an upper floor is supported off it.  If the wall is loadbearing an application will be needed but we recommend that you seek professional advice before carrying out such work if in doubt.

Removing a chimney breast

If the chimney to be removed is at a lower level only and some part of the stack will remain above, then an application will be needed for the support to the remaining parts.  Sometimes if a complete chimney is being removed through the building this may be classed as non-loadbearing and an application would not be required, although the stack itself may be contributing to buttressing of walls.  Again, we recommend that you seek professional advice before carrying out such work if in doubt, or if the chimney is on a separating or party wall between properties.

Cavity wall insulation

Normally, specialist companies will carry out cavity wall insulation and take care of informing us of this work without the involvement of the customer.  If in doubt, ask your cavity wall insulation installer.

Additional / relocated bathrooms

Any relocated services involving drainage other than minor alterations to above ground waste pipes would require an application under the Building Regulations.  If new bathrooms are being created, such as an en-suite off an existing bedroom, we would also require information on ventilation and any electrical modifications to be done as part of the work.  If in doubt as to whether your proposal comes under the scope of the regulations, please contact us.

Do I need to make an application if I intend to erect or extend an attached garage?

Yes, application will be required.

Do I need an application for converting a loft to a room?

Yes, an application will be required.

Do I need to submit an application for replacing windows?

Yes, unless the installer of the replacement windows is registered under an approved contractor scheme, such as FENSA.

I have heard that I now need permission to carry out electrical work on my house - what does this mean?

Certain electrical works are now covered under the Building Regulations. These apply mainly to dwellings and include works to gardens and outbuildings.
Small jobs which include additional or replacement fittings are not notifiable, except in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Any work which involves the creation of a new circuit, or works in special locations (such as kitchens and bathrooms) will be notifiable.

There are two routes available to achieve compliance with Part P:

  • Use an electrician registered under one of the various competent person schemes for electrical work. An application will not be required under the Building Regulations as the installer self certifies the work. We would strongly encourage the use of electricians / installers who are part of a competent person scheme.
  • The alternative is to make an application under the Building Regulations, where a charge will be payable. We will also need drawings of the proposed works with cable sizes and routes clearly marked and inspections of the works will need to be carried out. Depending on the type of installation being carried out, independent testing may also be required.

I need to replace my boiler, do I need to make an application?

Replacement boilers are controlled by the Building Regulations. An application will be required if the person installing the boiler is not a certified installer for that type of installation. You are advised to ask for proof that the installer is suitably qualified.

What can I do if I have carried out building works without submitting an application?

You could apply for a regularisation application if the works have been carried out since the 1st January 1985.

When will we issue a completion certificate?

Completion Certificate or Completion Notice will be issued when the building works associated with either a Full Plans or Building Notice application has been satisfactory completed.

Can I draw my own plans?

Yes, if you know about the current Building Regulations and you are a good draftsperson. Other wise you should use a competent person to draw them for you.

Can you recommend an architect, building surveyor, structural engineer or builder?

No, because we have to remain independent.

When can I start work?

You or your builder can start works 24 hours after we have received your application. Should you decide to carry out works covered in a Full Plans application, prior to receiving approval, you will do so at your own risk. You must always inform us to arrange all necessary inspections.

Who can assist with a disagreement regarding boundaries?

 Unfortunately the Council has no legal powers to help. Advice from a Solicitor should be sought if agreement cannot be reached with your neighbours. Extensions can be built onto the boundary line, it is a good idea to keep neighbours informed of your proposal, because the Party Wall Act 1996  may apply.

What if I choose not to apply for building works?

We would treat your actions and the works carried out as "contraventions", this may result in your appearance in Court. Any such actions would be recorded on the official search for your property, making it difficult for you to get a second mortgage or to sell the property.