Applying for Building Regulations Approval



Do I need Building Control Regulations? I've already got Planning Permission...

Building Regulation Approval is a separate process from Planning Permission, as they each relate to different legal requirements.

Planning Permission is primarily concerned with where a development is built, the impact on its surroundings and whether it is in keeping with its environment.

Building Regulations are more concerned with how a development is built, its structural strength and safety.

Many developments require Building Regulation Approval as well as Planning Permission. Additionally some developments that do not require Planning Permission will require Building Regulation Approval.

Building Regulations Part P - Electrical Safety

The design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations is controlled under the Building Regulations Part P - Electrical Safety.  Part P applies mainly to dwelling houses and flats including gardens and outbuildings such as sheds, detached garages and greenhouses.

Making an application

Submit a planTo apply for Building Regulations Approval an application form must be submitted, and a fee paid.  The fee varies depending according to the type of application submitted, and the type and cost of the work. 

The type of application that has to be submitted depends on whether the building will have a designated use under the Fire Precaution Act 1971. In general this applies to all non-domestic properties, these require a Full Plans submission. Other properties will require a Building Notice application.

Retrospective applications require an application for a Regularisation Certificate.



Goodwill advice and other consent


As well as applying for Building Regulations Approval, please remember you may also need the permission of others as well. While this list should not be considered exhaustive, examples include the following:


Other Council Services

  • If you are carrying out building work you may need Planning permission. To determine this please contact Planning (Development Control).
  • If you live in a listed building, and/or the building is in a conservation area, you may need separate Listed Building Consent. You may need this even if you don’t need planning permission. For further information or to find out if a building is listed, please contact Heritage Conservation.
  • If you live in an ex-council house, you probably need permission from the Housing Directorate to carry out the work. For further information, see details on Covenants and approvals (council properties).
  • Building within 8 metres of a watercourse requires Land Drainage consent. For further information please contact Flooding and Land Drainage.


The Party Wall Act

This is a matter of civil law, in other words it is between you and your neighbour, and does not involve the council. It does however mean that you may be required to notify your neighbour in writing before you start any building works if the work falls into one of the following categories:

  • Work to an existing wall or structure shared with another property
  • Building a wall of a building or a freestanding wall up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring owner
  • Excavating within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure.

Advice on party wall matters can be obtained by contacting the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. There is also an explanatory booklet produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government.


Building Over or Close to Sewers

If you are building over or within 3 metres of a public sewer you may need the local Water Authority’s permission. In most cases this is Thames Water Utilities (TWU) Note: TWU insists that any drain, laid before 1st October 1937, serving more than one property is a public sewer. 

After 1st April 2002, Building Regulations applications for new buildings and extensions, which involve building over or within 3 metres of a public sewer, must be Full Plan applications and a Building Notice application is therefore not acceptable.


Contaminated Land

Under its Part IIA Environmental Protection Act 1990 duties, this authority has identified potentially contaminated sites within the district and has prioritised these for further inspection.  Details of how the Part IIA requirements are being implemented in this district are contained in the council's Contaminated Land Strategy, and details can be found  in Contaminated Land for Building Control.  


Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (and 2005)

Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) makes it unlawful for service providers to discriminate against disabled people by failing to make reasonable adjustments.   This includes considering reasonable adjustments to the physical features of your premises so that goods, services and facilities are accessible for disabled people.   Find out more about the Disability Discrimination Act at the Equality and Human Rights Commission's website.

Building control

Building control ensures that all new buildings are structurally safe and provide a healthy environment, as well as meeting the needs for energy conservation and access for disabled people. In most cases you will not only require planning approval to begin building work, but are also likely to require building regulation approval.

The regulations also apply to certain changes of use of existing buildings. You may also need approval from the council if the work you want to do involves building over a sewer or a drain. Please contact us to discuss specific requirements.

Find a registered electrician - A register of electricians belonging to the various CPS schemes.

General guidance - For general advice, guidance and information in easy to understand formats


Contaminated Land for Building Control

Guidance for dealing with land contamination issues under the Building Act is contained in Approved Document C (2004) and its reference publications.

This guidance covers contamination that could present risks to humans, buildings and services from manmade contaminants from industry, agriculture, waste disposal etc. from natural contaminants such as ground gases from peat beds present along river valleys and from micro-organisms from sewage, graveyards, the keeping and processing of animals etc.

All potentially contaminated soils within the curtilage of a site are now included under the Building Control regime, in addition to soils below the footprint of the building. Contamination risks from offsite sources which could affect the building site, such as gassing landfills, are also included under the regime.  Most potentially contaminated sites undergoing significant redevelopment or change of use will already have land contamination conditions attached to their planning consent.  For more details, see Planning (Development Control).