When do I need building regulations approval?

Building Regulations applications are needed for most construction projects:

New Buildings

  • All new buildings except agricultural buildings
  • Garages that are not fully detached and under 30 square metres

Extensions

  • All extensions no matter how small
  • Some conservatories and porches  - many are exempt but these must be separated from the house by doors and can’t be heated)
  • Roof extensions, balconies and  roof terraces
  • Basements and basement extensions

Conversions

  • All loft conversions, roof extensions, balconies and  roof terraces
  • All garage conversions
  • Barn conversions
  • Subdividing a house into flats
  • Converting flats back into a house

Alterations

  • Creating a ‘granny annex’
  • Creating a new or en-suite bathroom or cloakroom
  • Installing a new kitchen
  • Taking out a loadbearing wall – you need to ask a structural engineer to confirm that your wall isn’t supporting the walls, floors or roof above it
  • Taking out a non-loadbearing wall if it separates a room from your hall, staircase or landing 
  • New installation or replacement of a solid fuel appliance
  • New installation or replacement of a heating system or any boiler, regardless of fuel type
  • New installation or replacement of an oil tank
  • Installation of a new bathroom if existing plumbing is altered or if new plumbing is installed
  • Installation of fixed air conditioning systems
  • Installation of additional radiators to some existing heating systems
  • Replacement fuse boxes, any new electrical installation connected to the fuse box and alterations to electrical installations in bathrooms around the bath or shower replacement window and door units
  • Installing roof lights
  • Making windows or doors wider or taller
  • Replacement of roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs even if this is just like for like
  • Replacing your floor

Material Change of Use

There is a material change of use where there is a change in the purposes for which or the circumstances in which a building is used, so that after that change:

  • the building is used as a dwelling, where previously it was not
  • the building contains a flat, where previously it did not
  • the building is used as an hotel or a boarding house, where previously it was not
  • the building is used as an institution, where previously it was not
  • the building is used as a public building, where previously it was not
  • the building is not a building described in classes 1 to 6 in Schedule 2 of the Building Regulations, where previously it was
  • the building, which contains at least one dwelling, contains a greater or lesser number of dwellings than it did previously
  •  the building contains a room for residential purposes, where previously it did not
  • the building, which contains at least one room for residential purposes, contains a greater or lesser number of such rooms than it did previously
  • the building is used as a shop, where previously it was not

Some work can be carried out without informing Building Control if you're using a registered installer from a competent persons scheme, including the following:

  • Most repairs, replacements and maintenance work (except replacements of combustion appliances, oil tanks, electrical fuse boxes or glazing units which do need to be notified)
  • Additional power points or lighting points or any other alterations to existing circuits (except around baths and showers)
  • Like for like replacements of baths, toilets, windows, basins or sinks.

What is a competent persons scheme?

Some work can be carried out without telling Building Control Body providing you use a Competent Person Scheme (CPS) registered installer. 

 An installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme is qualified to carry out specific types of work in accordance with Building Regulations and should both notify the local authority of the work and issue you a certificate of compliance with Building Regulations either directly or through their scheme operator.

If you do not receive a certificate within 30 days of completion contact the Competent Person Scheme operator that your installer is registered with and they may be able to help you resolve this.

If you do not use an installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme then you will have to submit a building notice or full plans application and pay a fee to have a Building Control Body come and inspect the work.

How can I find an installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme in my area or check that my chosen installer is with a scheme?

Visit www.competentperson.co.uk and enter your postcode or the name of the installer in the relevant search box.

This is a list of the types of work covered by Competent Person Schemes.

  • Installation of cavity wall insulation
  • Installation of solid wall insulation
  • Installation of gas appliances
  • Installation of solid fuel appliances
  • Installation of oil fired appliances
  • Installation or replacement of hot water and heating systems connected to gas appliances
  • Installation or replacement of a heating or hot water system connected to an electric heat source
  • Installation of fixed air conditioning or mechanical ventilation systems
  • Any electrical installation work in dwellings
  • Electrical installation work only in association with other work (e.g. kitchen installations, boiler installations)
  • Replacement windows, doors, roof windows, or roof lights in dwellings
  • Installation of plumbing and water supply systems and bathrooms and sanitary ware
  • Replacement of roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs (not including solar panels)
  • Installation of microgeneration or renewable technologies

If your project consists of work other than that mentioned above, you'll need to speak to your local building control team, who'll be happy to help.

Exemptions

Exemptions include:

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.  

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.

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.

Temporary buildings

Those which remain erected for less than 28 days

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.

*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.

*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.

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.

*Criteria for exemption on common projects

Conservatories

To be exempt your conservatory must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Must be at ground floor level only
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30sq. metres
  • A conservatory has not less than three-quarters of the area of its roof and not less than half the area of its external walls made of translucent material
  • Must not be used for any other purpose (e.g. Kitchen or living/sleeping accommodation)
  • Existing external entrance doors and/or windows must be retained
  • Safety glazing must be used
  • The heating system must be separate and not extended from the main house and have its own controls

Porches

To be exempt your porch extension must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Must be at ground floor level only
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30sq. metres
  • Must not be used for any other purpose (e.g. Kitchen or living / sleeping accommodation)
  • Existing external entrance doors and / or windows must be retained
  • Safety glazing must be used
  • The heating system must be separate and not extended from the main house and have its own controls

Car ports

To be exempt your carport must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Must be at ground floor level only
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30sq. metres
  • The carport must be open on at least two sides

Garage/ small detached buildings

To be exempt your garage must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Must be detached
  • Must be single storey
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30sq. metres
  • Must not be used for any other purpose (e.g. Kitchen or living / sleeping accommodation)
  • More than 1 metre from the boundary or wholly non-combustible
  • For any services eg. electric/ drainage a Building Regulation application must be submitted

Small outbuilding / sheds (detached buildings)

To be exempt your shed must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Must be detached
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 15sq. metres
  • Must not be used for any other purpose (e.g. Kitchen or living / sleeping accommodation)
  • For any services eg. electric/ drainage a Building Regulation application must be submitted
Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Building Control

Tel: 01633 647300

Email: buildingcontrol@torfaen.gov.uk

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