Building Regulations frequently asked questions

What must I do to get Building Regulation approval?

If your building work needs Building Regulation approval you can either:

  • submit a Full Plans application, or
  • submit a Building Notice

To what area of work do the Regulations apply?

Regulations apply to virtually all building extensions and new building works, the removal and provision of internal walls and structural alterations to buildings.

The office of the Deputy Prime Minister produce an introductory guide to the Building Regulations;follow this link to  view or download the Building Regulations: Explanatory booklet from the ODPM.

Copies are available from the Planning & Building Control Department and can be obtained from The Building Control Team.

Do the Regulations apply to the erection of a conservatory?

Conservatories which are less than 30m² internal floor area, separated from the main part of the building by a door and constructed at ground level are exempt control.

May I draw my own plans?

Yes, provided that you have the necessary training and knowledge to produce accurate scale drawings and detailed building specifications. If you do not feel confident to do this it may be better to employ a professional person to act as your agent and to prepare the application for you. It is also worthwhile considering having professional drawings and specifications prepared if you intend to use them as a basis for obtaining builders estimates and as your contract drawings.

Is it possible to regularise unauthorised works?

Yes. Under certain circumstances the owner of a property may apply to "regularise" works that were carried out without consent. Please refer to the information notices about unauthorised works.

What if things go wrong?

If problems arise during the progress of works our officers will do their best to help find solutions, and will be happy to offer advice to both you and your builder.Ultimately however the Building Control service is not a warranty organisation and if the building work fails to meet your needs or expectations your redress would be against your builder, not the Borough Council.

For this reason you should take great care in selecting a builder who is reliable and who is still likely to be around if you have problems two or three years into the future.

Proof that Building Regulations were not required

If your solicitor has asked you to provide written evidence that Building Regulations/Planning were not required for the alterations/extensions you have made to your home:

You can submit a written request. This process takes about 7-10 days and a letter will be sent out informing you that either permission was or was not needed. This is a free service.

If a Building Regulations application was required you may be able to apply for a Regularisation Certificate. A Regularisation Application will need to be submitted. If, after looking at the work on site, we are happy that it satisfies the Building Regulations we will issue a formal Regularisation Certificate. The Certificate may be used when selling a house to show that the work complies with the Building Regulations.(For more information go to Building Control)

How long are plans valid for?

When plans are approved, the work must start within 3 years (from the date of approval of the application) or if not commenced a new approval must be obtained.

How long does the application process take?

Our aim is to check all applications within 10 days however, there is a period of 5 weeks with a further extension (if agreed) of up to 2 months after which a decision must be made.

Does Building Regulation Approval mean that my building work is insured?

No.

Have my neighbours the right to object to my plans under the Building Regulations?

No. Under the Building Regulations, adjoining owners have no rights of objection.

What happens if my builder fails to give the required notices?

You are in contravention of the Building Regulations. You may be asked to open up works, which means lost time and money and the possibility of having to do work again.

Does the approval of plans permit me to build on or over the boundary onto my neighbour’s property?

No. Building Control Services are not responsible for establishing boundaries between properties. If your neighbour builds on or over your boundary, we suggest that you discuss the matter with them. If you are not able to resolve the situation, we suggest you take legal advice. Of particular relevance is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

If I have any problems who do I turn to?

Prevention is better, cheaper and less stressful than cure. If you think you may have any problems then do not hesitate to contact Building Control Services for advice.

Is there any documentation I should keep?

Yes. it is advisable to keep your Full Plans Approval and Completion Certificates for the work that has been carried out. These are as important as the original deeds of the property. Without them you will find it difficult to complete a sale of your property at anytime in the future. It can be compared to trying to sell a car without a valid M.O.T certificate.

You should also keep builders invoices, warranties etc.

Do I need approval to replace windows?

Yes, From April 1st 2002, all replacement glazing comes within the scope of the Building Regulations. From then on, anyone who installs replacement windows will have to comply with strict thermal performance standards and other matters controllable under the Regulations.

Updated: 20 November 2013