Your guide - building regulations

Nearly all home renovation projects require building regulations approval, even if the work doesn't require planning permission. Here is some more information to help understand the approval process.

Why do I need to adhere to building regulations?

Building regulations do not supervise the builders work but ensure it meets a minimum standard. They cover everything from fire safety, glazing, ventilation, structural work and much more. If building regulations aren’t followed, you may have to re-do the work and even pay a fine.

Not having the correct paperwork when it comes to selling your home will also cause for many reasons, make sure you obtain building regulations approval.

When do I need to apply for building regulations?

If you are carrying out any structural work or changes to your home, you will most likely need to apply for building regulations approval. Even if your project does not require planning permission consent, it is more than likely that you will need building regulations approval.

There are some exceptions where you don't need approval, such as like for like minor works or the building of some conservatories. As a rule of thumb, if your work is structural, electrical or impacting the drainage then you will need approval. If you are in doubt whether you need building regulations approval for any kind of home alteration, check with your local authority.

What is the building regulations approval process?

Building regulations approval is normally granted by your local authority building control or through a private approved inspector, with the majority of home owners still going through the local authority building control.

You can choose to either submit a Full plan submission or a Building notice.

Full plan submission

This is the most popular and thorough submission and requires a submission of plans. The building inspector will visit the site at various stages of the work and if the work is compliant you will get a completion certificate within 8 weeks of the work being complete.

Building notice

This is normally for smaller jobs and the work can start 2 days after the application has been submitted. The planning department will give you 48 hours notice to visit the site and will visit throughout the process. You do not need to submit plans for this process but it does carry more risk as you do not have pre-approved plans to work off.

Note that there are different rules in Scotland and Ireland so contact your local authority for more guidance.

An example of building regulations drawings

How much does it cost to apply for building regulations?

Building Control fees are around £300 – £900 depending on the size of the project, your local authority and number of dwellings in the property.

If you are submitting a full plan, you will also have to pay for the drawings from your architect or structural engineer. This will either be included in the overall fees for the planning permission drawings and planning process, or else you can commission a structural engineer to do the drawings for you. The cost of a structural engineer will vary depending on the complexity of the project but expect to pay anything from around £500.

If you are considering carrying out structural changes, read Do I need a structural engineer for my home renovation, to make sure you know the role the structural engineer will play.

Anything else I need to know?

If you hire a tradesperson who is registered under the competent person scheme then they will self certify their work complies with the Building Regulations instead of having to submit a building notice. Many kinds of work can be self certified such as replacing windows or the boiler.

Often your architect or structural engineer will apply on your behalf, but double check they have applied on your behalf and chase up on the certificate.

A final word....

This article is only a guide so before you carry out any work in your area, always check your local council authority.

We have specific guides on loft conversion building regulations and garage conversion building regulations if you want more specific advice!

Published: November 20, 2019

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