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Building Control…

Is Building Regulation Approval the same as planning permission?

Building Regulation approval is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission for the work you may wish to carry out. In certain cases, you may not require planning permission but will require meeting building regulations.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

It is of paramount importance to check at a very early stage to establish if the project you intend carrying out requires the benefit of building regulation approval. What you must remember is that certain works that may not require planning approval but may still require building regulation approval.

If you are intending to carry out “Building Work” as defined in Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations, then it must comply with the Building Regulations. If that is the case, you will then need to seek approval from a building control body (who doesn’t necessarily have to be the local authority).

Who and what is a Building Control Body?

You are required to use one of two types of Building Control Service:

  • Local Authority Building Control
  • An Approved private building control Inspectors.

Approved Inspectors are private sector companies or practitioners and are approved for the purpose of carrying out the Building Control Service as an alternative to your local authority. Approved Inspectors can provide a service in connection with most sorts of building project involving new buildings or work to existing buildings, including extensions or alterations to homes. They should all be registered with the Construction Industry Council.

If you are employing a builder to do your work you should be clear from the outset whether they are taking responsibility for ensuring that the building work complies with the Building Regulations, and also whether they are taking responsibility for liaising with the Building Control Service you have decided to use. In the case of some minor works, the contractor (if approved to do so) may be able to self-certify the work, meaning you will not need to seek approval directly – the contractor will notify the Building Control Body of their work and that it has been done in accordance with the Building Regulations.

What Projects amount to Building Work?

Within the meaning of Regulation 3, the following projects must comply with the Building Regulations

  • If you intend to erect or indeed extend a building. As we set out above, in certain circumstances, planning permission may not be required.
  • An alteration project involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings. For example, if you are intending to change the means of access to your home, you will require building regulation approval.
  • When installing replacement windows using a builder or window company not registered with the relevant Competent Person Schemes. For example, a company affiliated to FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) will mean you do not need to seek approval from a building control body.
  • The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations.
  • The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall.
  • The underpinning of the foundations of a building.
  • When you want to change the building’s fundamental use.