E x c e l D e s i g n L t d
Building Design and Consultancy
Building Regulations FAQ's
Your Local Authority Building Control Department will be pleased to give you any information and advice. The following is for guidance and help only it is not intended as an authoritative interpretation of the law or Building Regulations.
The Building Regulations
are approved by Parliament and deal with the minimum standards of design
and building work for the construction of domestic, commercial and
industrial buildings. The Building Regulations also contain a list of
requirements, which are designed to:
a. Ensure the health and
safety of people in and around buildings.
b. Provide for energy
c. Provide access and facilities for disabled people
There are several parts to these covering the structure, fire safety, ventilation, drainage, energy conservation, and access and facilities for disabled people.
However, there may well be alternative ways of complying with the requirements and you are therefore under no obligation to adopt any particular way of complying with the regulations
No. But whilst there is no requirement in the Building Regulations to consult neighbours, it would be prudent to do so. In any event, you should be careful that the work does not encroach on their property.
Objections may be raised
under other legislation, particularly if your proposal is subject to
approval under the Town and Country Planning legislation or the Party
A Building Regulations
application is completely separate to a Planning application. Planning
applications must be made to the relevant department of the Local
Authority. Irrespective of the need to obtain planning approval, you
will still also need to satisfy the Building Regulations. Similarly,
Building Regulations are a completely separate matter from the Party
Yes. However, a porch or conservatory built at ground level and under 30m2 in floor area is exempt provided that the glazing complies with the safety glazing requirements of the Building Regulations. It is advisable to ensure that a conservatory is not constructed so that it restricts ladder access to windows serving a room in the roof or a loft conversion, particularly if that window is needed as an emergency means of escape in the case of fire
Yes, but a carport extension built at ground level, open on at least two sides and under 30m2 in floor area, is exempt.
No. But, you should make sure that the work is done safely to avoid accidents. There are different regulations in Inner London and you would be advised to make further enquiries of the London Boroughs, before starting work on building a wall over 2 meters high.
Yes. But a single storey
garage at ground level, under 30m2 in floor area and with no sleeping
accommodation, is exempt provided either: it is built substantially of
non-combustible material or it is at least I meter from the boundary of
Yes, if the alterations
are to the structure such as the removal or part removal of a load
bearing wall, joist, beam or chimney breast, or would affect fire
precautions of a structural nature either inside or outside your house.
You also need approval if, in altering a house, work is necessary to the
drainage system or to maintain the means of escape in case of fire.
No, provided the window
opening is not enlarged. If a larger opening is required, or if the
existing frames are load bearing, then a structural alteration will take
place and approval will be required.
No, provided you do not
remove those opening windows, which are necessary as a means of escape
in case of fire.
No, if the repairs are of a minor nature e.g. replacing the felt to a flat roof or re-pointing brickwork, or replacing floorboards.
Yes, if the repair work
is major in nature e.g. removing a substantial part of a wall and
rebuilding it, or underpinning a building. In the case of re-roofing, if
the tiles are the same type then no approval is needed. If the new
tiling or roofing material is substantially heavier or lighter than the
existing material, or if the roof is thatched or is to be thatched where
previously it was not, then an approval under Building Regulations is
Yes, even where construction work may not be intended.
No, if you are not
proposing any building work to make the change. Where building work is
proposed you probably will need approval if it affects the structure or
means of escape in case of fire. But you should check with the local
Fire Authority, usually the County Council to see whether a fire
certificate is needed. You will probably also need planning permission
whether or not building work is proposed.
No, unless the work
involves new or an extension of drainage or plumbing.
Gas: Yes, unless the work is supervised by an approved installer under the Gas Safety Regulations.
Solid fuel: Yes.
Yes, if the water heater
is un-vented (i.e. supplied directly from the mains without an open
expansion tank and with no vent pipe to atmosphere) and has storage
capacity -greater than 15 litres. A person competent to do so must
install such systems.
We can submit a Full
Plans application to your Local Authority showing all constructional
details, preferably well in advance of your intended commencement on
site or we can submit a Building Notice (except for work where the
building is to be put to a use designated under the Fire Precautions Act
such as a shop, office, hotel, boarding house, or certain type of
A Full Plans application
will be thoroughly checked by the Local Authority who are required to
pass or reject your plans within a certain time limit; or they may add
conditions to an approval, with your written agreement. If they are
satisfied that the work shown on the plans complies with the
regulations, you will be issued with an approval notice within a period
of five weeks or up to two months if you agree to this. This will give
you the protection of being able to show that your plans were approved
as complying with the Building Regulations.
Under the Building Notice
procedure no approval notice is given. However, the advantage of the
building notice procedure is that it will allow you to carry out works
without the need to prepare full plans e.g. for minor works. However,
you must feel confident that the work will comply with the regulations
or you risk having to correct any work you carry out at the request of
the Local Authority.
Yes. A fee is payable to the Local Authority, the fee depends on the type of work involved.
Not necessarily. A Full Plans application may involve a two-stage payment, one which must be paid at the time when you submit your plans (a Plan Fee), and another following a first inspection on site (an Inspection Fee) but only if such an inspection takes place. A Building Notice Fee will amount to the same as would be payable for a Full Plans application plus an inspection on site. The Building Notice Fee is payable when you give the notice to your Local Authority.
If you use the Full Plans
procedure, the Local Authority will check your plans and consult any
appropriate authorities (such as fire and water authorities) and issue an
If you use the Building
Notice procedure, as with Full Plans applications, the work will
normally be inspected as it proceeds but you will not receive any notice
indicating whether your proposal has been passed or rejected. However,
you will be advised where the work itself is found by the building
control surveyor not to comply with the regulations. If, before
commencement or while work is in progress, the Local Authority requests
further information such as structural design calculations of plans, you
must supply these details.
Once you have given a
Building Notice or submitted Full Plans, you can start work at any time.
However, you must give the Local Authority a Commencement Notice at
least two clear working days before you start; and if you start work
before you receive a decision on your Full Plans application, you will
prejudice your ability to seek a determination from the Secretary of
State if there is a dispute.
The Local Authority has a
general duty to see that building work complies with the regulations
except where it is formally under the control of an Approved Inspector.
Where a Local Authority
is controlling the work and finds after its completion that it does not
comply, then the Local Authority may require you to alter or remove it.
If you fail to do this the Local Authority may serve a notice requiring
you to do so and you will be liable for the costs.
Yes. If you contravene
the regulations by building without notifying the Local Authority or by
carrying out work, which does not comply, the Local Authority can
prosecute. If you are convicted, you are liable to a penalty not
exceeding £5,000 plus £50 for each day on which each individual
contravention is not put right after you have been convicted. If you do
not put the work right when asked to do so, the Local Authority have
power to do it themselves and recover costs from you.
Where Full Plans are
submitted for work which is also subject to the Fire Precautions Act
1971 the Local Authority must issue you with a Completion Certificate
about compliance with the fire safety requirements of the Building
Regulations once work has finished. In other circumstances, you may ask
to be given one when the work is finished, but you must make your
request when you first submit your plans.