12. Building Regulations


  • As soon as you have clinched Planning Permission, you need to start working on getting Building Regulations Approval.

  • Building Regulations (widely known as ‘The Regs’) are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building.

  • Unlike Planning Permission which deals with the broader aspects for example, of how your house will appear, Building Regulations deal with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how your house will be constructed and serviced.

  • Building Regulations Approval usually involves more detailed design work based on the original outline proposals.

  • The Regs are supported by a series of ‘Approved Documents’ which guide the builder how to comply.

  • Once submitted, Building Control Officers (aka ‘Building Inspectors’) are responsible for checking your application and then policing the construction works for compliance with regulations. 

  • Building Control officers quite apart from their official role, are usually a great resource of information about local building conditions. Try and get to talk to one as soon as possible. 


The Origin of Building Regulations

  • Originally a series of building acts aiming to protect citizens from avaricious Victorian jerry builders.

  • The Building Regulations as we know them now first came into force in 1964

  • Their role is generally to ensure that buildings are built safely.


The Approved Documents

The documents are available as a bound set or they can be downloaded from the Planning Portal at https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200135/approved_documents. Listed below are the documents and what they deal with.

The Documents

  • Part A - Structure
  • Part B - Fire Safety
  • Part C - Site preparation and resistance to contaminates and moisture
  • Part D - Toxic Substances
  • Part E - Resistance to the passage of sound
  • Part F - Ventilation
  • Part G - Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency
  • Part H - Drainage and Waste Disposal
  • Part J - Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  • Part K - Protection from falling, collision and impact
  • Part L - Conservation of fuel and power
  • Part M - Access to and use of buildings
  • Part P - Electrical Safety

  • Part Q - Security
  • Part R - Physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks
  • Regulation 7 - Materials and workmanship


Getting Approval

Who does it?

  • Checking Building Regulations is done by Building Control bodies

  • They can either be part of the Local Authority (traditionally) or they can be from the private sector as ‘Approved Inspectors’

  • There are two routes to getting approval: ‘On-Site Approval’ or ‘Pre-Site Approval’

  • You can choose either, but ‘Pre-site Approval’ gives you greater clarity from the outset.


Types of Approval

1 Pre-Site Approval (aka 'Full Plans') 

  • Pre-Site Approval consists of a Building Inspector examining plans for compliance with the Building Regulations

  • Plans should be submitted well in advance of starting work on site.

  • A decision on the plans will be available within 5 weeks of submission.

  • Plans can be approved, conditionally approved (on condition of further information) or refused

  • In addition to the plans, key stages in the construction process are also inspected

  • Having your plans approved in advance of start-on-site provides peace of mind that the building you’re about to construct, complies with the Regs

  • If you are refused approval, you have the right to approach a Magistrates Court for a ‘determination’. This can be very expensive and with no guarantee of favourable outcome


2 On-Site Approval (aka ‘Building Notice’)

  • This form of Approval involves a series of visits to the building site as work progresses

  • You may still have to provide further information e.g. Structural calculations

  • The inspections will be arranged for critical points in the construction process

  • The Regs require inspections at both at the start and the completion of the works and of these points in between:

- Excavation for a foundation (before covering up)

- Any damp proof course (before covering up)

- Any concrete or material laid over a site (before covering up)