Essential UK Building Regulations

What are building regulations?

The Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.

Building regulations approval is different from planning permission. You might need both.

 What qualifies as ‘building work’ and falls under control of the regulations?

All extension work requires building regulations approval and you may need building regulations approval for many alteration projects, including if you plan to:

  • Replace roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs
  • Replace windows and doors
  • Insulate a cavity wall
  • Replace fuse boxes and connected electrics
  • Install a bathroom that will involve plumbing
  • Change electrics near a bath or shower
  • Put in a fixed air-conditioning system
  • Install or replace a heating system
  • Add extra radiators to a heating system

However, you do not need to get approval yourself if you use someone registered with a competent person scheme.

Building regulations approval is different from planning permission. You might need both.

What types of building projects are exempt?

  • Most repairs, replacements and maintenance work (except heating systems, oil tanks, fuse boxes and glazing units)
  • New power and lighting points, or changes to existing circuits (except around baths and showers)
  • Like-for-like replacements of baths, toilets, basins and sinks
  • Some conservatories
  • Non-habitable buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m² such as greenhouses and sheds

Click here for more information about building regulation exemptions

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FREE: Complete Guide to Planning Permission for Homeowners

Inside this easy to read free guide, we will teach you the key things you need to know about planning permission.

What happens if I don’t comply with building regulations?

  • The person doing the work could be prosecuted and fined
  • Your local authority could make you remove the faulty work/pay for it to be fixed
  • Without approval you will not have the certificates of compliance you may need when you want to sell your home

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How do I apply for building regulation approval?

If you are carrying out the building works yourself, or you’re working with someone who’s not registered with a competent person scheme, then you can apply for building regulation approval via the Planning Portal.

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