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Technical notes on areas which are covered by Building Regulations

Building work requiring Building Regulations approval

  • New buildings
  • Extensions
  • Alterations to existing buildings
  • Loft conversions
  • Installation or alteration of drainage
  • Installation or alteration of combustion appliances
  • Structural alterations
  • Some changes of use 

Some building work does not need Building Regulations approval. Please refer to the section on Buildings Regulations exemptions

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To see more on Building Regulation requirements, use the interactive guide on the Planning Portal website. This works well in most browsers, but you may experience problems if you are using a corporate network which is protected by a firewall.

Contact Building Control if you are unsure whether your work will need Building Regulations approval.


What constitutes 'building work'?

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • The provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting in connection with a building. This includes sanitary equipment, unvented hot water storage systems, foul and surface water drainage, and combustion appliances
  • The replacement of a window (or a door with more than 50% of its area glazed)
  • The replacement of a heat-producing appliance or a hot water storage vessel
  • The insertion of insulating material into the cavity wall of a building
  • Work involving the underpinning of a building
  • Any alteration to a building, or part of a building, if it affects the structure, fire safety, or the access and use of the building
  • Any alteration to a controlled service or fitting
  • A material change of use of a building (or part of a building) to:
    • a dwelling
    • a flat or maisonette (including a change in the number of dwellings within a building)
    • a hotel or boarding house
    • an institution (nursing home, hospital, etc)
    • a public building (theatre, school, place of public worship, etc)
    • residential rooms (hotel rooms, student rooms, residential homes, etc) including a change in the number of rooms within a building
    • a shop
  • work relating to the energy status of the building.
  • work relating to thermal elements of the building (walls, floor and roof)

A ‘building’ is defined in the Building Regulations as "a permanent or temporary building, but not any other kind of structure or erection, and a reference to a building includes reference to a part of a building".


Types of work covered by the Building Regulations 

You will need approval for:

  • the erection or extension of a building
  • structural alterations to a building
  • any alteration which could affect the building's fire safety, disabled access or facilities 
  • the provision, alteration or extension of a controlled service or fitting, such as drainage or combustion appliances
  • a material change of use of a building, or part thereof
  • replacement windows, or doors with more than 50% of their area glazed
  • many types of electrical work in dwellings
  • work on thermal elements of a building (walls, floor and roof)

Examples of works requiring approval

  • Conversion of a loft space into rooms
  • Conversion of a dwelling house into flats
  • Conversion of a garage into rooms
  • Conversion of a barn into a dwelling
  • Internal alterations of a structural nature
  • Installation of cavity insulation
  • Installation of appliances and fittings for an unvented hot water system (a WC, bath, basin, sink etc)
  • Underpinning of foundations
  • Replacement roof covering (where substantially heavier or lighter than the previous covering)
  • Electrical work in dwellings and gardens of dwellings

Limitation On Requirements*

Building Regulations ensure reasonable health and safety for people who use a building or those affected by a building.

Building Regulations make no provision for property protection or the quality of finishes.

Building work must be carried out with the correct materials which should be used or fixed to a good standard.

Materials must conform to EC Directives, British Standards, British Board of Agrément (BBA) Certificate or other equivalent specification issued by a member of the EC.

* except for requirements for conservation of fuel, power, access and facilities for disabled people