A Guide to Building Regulations

A set of statutory rules govern the construction standards of your project, and they are mandatory

What are building regulations?

In general terms, the Building Regulations are a set of 14 statutory documents, part A to P which set minimum construction standards for the design and building work applying to most buildings and many alterations to existing properties.  They include consideration of materials and workmanship requirements, structural matters, fire safety, sound insulation, energy conservation and access to and use of buildings. 


A             Structure

B             Fire Safety

C             Site Preparation and resistance to contamination and moisture.

D             Toxic Substances

E              Resistance to the passage of sound

F              Ventilation

G             Sanitation, hot water safety & water efficiency

H             Drainage and waste disposal

J              Combustion appliances & fuel storage

K             Protection from falling, collision & impact

L(1)        Conservation of fuel and Power (domestic dwellings &extensions)

M            Access & Facilities

N             Glazing: safety in relation to impact, opening

P             Electrical Safety.


Building Regulation approval relates to the specifics of how a building should be constructed and is not the same as planning permission which relates to the principle whether developments should go ahead or not.


Do I need to apply?

Anyone wishing to carry out building work which is subject to the Building Regulations is legally required to make sure it complies and gets approval from Building Control.  Building work as defined in the Building Regulations includes putting up the new building, extending altering an existing one providing sciences and/or fittings in of building such as a washing and sanitary facility, hot water cylinders, foul water and rainwater drainage, replacement windows and fuel burning appliances of any type.

Certain types of small extensions are exempt, but it is always best to check with a Building Control body.


Where to get approval?

There are two types of Building Control service available: Building Control provided by your local authority (LA) or Building Control provided by privately approved inspector (AI).  There is a charge for either.

Harvey Norman Architects is a member of the Local Authority Building Control’s (LABC) “Partner Authority Scheme” and partner with 3C Shared Services which is a is a strategic partnership between Cambridge City Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council offering one building control department for the three authorites.



How to get approval?

There are two routes to approval:

  1. Full Plans

  2. or a Building Notice

A full plans application will need to include a completed application form, the correct fee and a detailed set of plans.  Once the submission is deemed fit for purpose, you will be issued a pre-construction plans approval notice stating that they have been sanctioned.  

Once works start on site Building Control will inspect the work to ensure compliance at particular stages. 

  • Commencement

  • Excavations before concrete is poured

  • Foundations after concrete is poured

  • Oversite before covering up any hardcore plus damp proof course

  • Drains laid before and after they are covered

  • Drains test before occupation

Once building work is finished the project has to go through a completion inspection for and a completion certificate will be issued. This is a vital piece of paper and will be needed if you want to re-mortgage or sell your home in the future.

Although we would not generally recommend it unless there are pressing circumstances, building notices can used for small domestic DIY alterations, and require only a completed application form and the correct fee.  Moreover, you can start work two days after your notice is submitted. You do not get a formal approval as you do with full plans.  It

You can apply for regularisation that is a retrospective approval for work already carried out without consent from a local authority Building Control body only, but only if the work was carried out after the 11th November 1985.


How long does it take for approval?

For full plans, you can expect a decision within 5 to 8 weeks.

You will receive the completion certificate within eight weeks completion of the building works.


If I do not comply what will happen?

The all the work may not be safe could cause health problems, injury or death and may also not meet energy efficiency standards.

The main responsibility for achieving compliance rests with the person carrying out the building work.  However, if you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice for non-compliance.


I do not think I should have to comply, what can I do?

If you think you should not have to comply, ask your local authority to ignore all relaxed one or more to the Building Regulations.  Private Building Control body is unable to do this.


Can I appeal?

If you think your project Y should not have to comply with Building Regulations you can appeal. Alternatively, ask for a determination if you have been refused approval and you think the decision unfair.

If your authority still says you have to comply you can appeal to cut government and will have a month to make the appeal.


More Information

For a more information on the Building Regulations please follow the following two links:

  1. Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet
  2. Planning Portal



Like this post? Consider sharing it or saving it for later.