What are Building Regulations?

Whilst this may not seem the most exhilarating of topics, it is one of the most essential. Whether planning permissions are required or not, the majority of all building projects do need Building Regulations approval. So what are they and what’s the difference?

Building Regulations consider the structure of the building and are very detailed comprising the following lettered sections:

  • Part A – Structure
  • Part B – Fire Safety
  • Part C – Contamination and damp
  • Part D – Toxicity
  • Part E – Sound
  • Part F – Ventilation
  • Part G – Hygiene
  • Part H – Drainage
  • Part J – Fuel
  • Part K – On-site Safety
  • Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Power
  • Part M – Access
  • Part N – Glazing
  • Part P – Electrics
Full information on the details of these sections can be viewed on the Communities and Local Government website www.communities.gov.uk and are updated from time to time, which is worth visiting the website for the latest updates.

How does this affect your home/house?

If you’re using a builder, it would be advisable to ensure they are up to speed with the latest regulations. If you’re doing the work yourselves, you will need to check that your work will meet the criteria.

Who conducts the building regulations?

This will be either implemented by your local authority building control (LABC) department or a private business, which is an Approved Inspector.

When would Building Regulations Approval be needed?

Any new structural work or modifications to your home will need Building Regulation Approval. Other activities such as drainage, electrical work, cavity wall insulations and heat-generating devices will also need approval, but there maybe an opportunity for self-certification under Part P Electrics for some individuals.

Is there any situation when Approval is not needed?

Most minor work where simple replacements are made, as well as some small buildings that don’t include sleeping areas including conservatories won’t need approval. If in doubt contact your architect design services provider or check with the local authorities.

How do I apply?

The application has to be submitted with the fees, which will cover administration and inspections and are made to a ‘Building Control Body’ (BCB). There are two types of BCB, you can choose which you use, either your local authority BCB or a private inspector will inform your local authority about the work, (which is called ‘initial notice’.)

It is important that the correct fees are paid or you could face a fine. Many local authorities have a fee calculator online that will help you.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have a different system.

Can you start before the Inspection Process?

No. Work can commence before formal approval but you must have the inspection before the approval of the inspector and the stages are adhered to. The stages are: foundation excavation; concrete for foundation; oversite; damp-proof course; foul water drains trenches working; surface water drains trenches working; the occupation prior to final completion (second fix); and final completion.

How do you get the Completion Certificate?

After the inspector has given approval you will receive a Completion Certificate. This is a crucial document to be retained with the written planning permission when you come to sell the property and will be needed by lenders to secure warranties and reclaim VAT (if applicable).

If you are in need of any assistance for architectural design services, planning permission or building regualtions, ARC Design Services can offer assistance and professional advice. To find out more, visit www.arcdesignservices.net

26a Victoria Road, Hale
Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 9AD
United Kingdom