Works and building exempt from Building Regulations

While you have every right to expect all work being done for you to be carried out in a fit and proper manner, the Building Regulations allow some works to be done without going through the Building Regulation process.

In most instances it is advisable to contact the Building Control Team to verify whether or not the work to be undertaken is in fact exempt.

The Building Regulations do not apply to those buildings and extensions that are listed in Schedule 2 to the Regulations.  At the time of writing some of these are as follows:

Exemptions include

1. Buildings controlled under other legislation

  • Buildings subject to the Explosives Acts.
  • Buildings other than houses or offices erected on a site licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act.
  • Buildings included in the Schedule to Section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act.  

2. Buildings not frequented by people

These are detached buildings, into which persons do not normally go or only go intermittently to inspect plant and machinery.

The exemption applies only if the building is sited at least one and a half times its height either from the boundary or from any point of a building into which people normally go.

3. Greenhouses and agricultural buildings

Greenhouses are only exempt providing they are not used for retailing, packing or exhibiting.

Agricultural buildings and buildings principally for keeping animals are exempt if they are not used as a dwelling, are at least one and a half times their height from any building where there is sleeping accommodation and have a fire exit not more than 30m from any point in a building.

4. Temporary buildings - those which remain erected for less than 28 days

5. Ancillary buildings

  • Building site offices containing no sleeping accommodation.
  • Estate sales buildings.
  • Buildings other than dwellings or offices used in connection with a mine or quarry.

6. Small detached buildings

Single storey buildings under 30m2 floor area, containing no sleeping accommodation, constructed substantially of non-combustible material, or sited at least one metre from the boundary or curtilage (e.g. detached garage).

Nuclear shelters under 30m2 floor area: where the excavation for the shelter is not nearer to any other buildings than the depth of the excavation plus one metre.

A detached building, having a floor area not more than 15m2, with no sleeping accommodation, can be constructed of any material.

7. Extensions to buildings at ground level with a floor area not more than 30m2 which is

  • a conservatory or porch*
  • a covered yard or covered way
  • a car port open on at least two sides. The ends can be counted as sides and doors/windows are allowed between the house and carport

(*Conservatories or porches are exempt only if the glazing they contain complies with Part N of the Building Regulations.)

An extension is not exempted however if it impedes an existing escape route i.e from an existing loft or other second floor room.

8. Crown Property

At present there is no legal obligation for the Crown to comply with the procedural requirements of the Building Regulations. Section 44 of the Building Act 1984 provides for the substantive provisions to be applied to work carried out by or on behalf of a Crown Authority, whether or not it is in relation to a Crown building.

Crown immunity for Building Regulation purposes was removed from 1st April 1991 from building work to be carried out on land used or occupied by health service bodies (Section 60 of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990).

Removal of Crown immunity is proposed for a range of other bodies, including former public utilities now privatised.

Where plans have been approved by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, schools and other educational establishments are exempt from the requirements of the Regulations. Certain buildings of statutory undertakers and other specified bodies are also exempt.

Updated: 20 September 2013