Do I need approval for my building works?

Building work needing formal approval

General points are given here but for more information, try the GOV.UK building regulations information.

In general, most building work requires building regulation approval. This includes the:

  • erection of a new building or re-erection of an existing building
  • extension of a building
  • material alteration of a building
  • material change of use of a building
  • installation, alteration or extension of a controlled service or fitting to a building

Typical examples of work needing approval include:

  • home extensions such as: a kitchen, bedroom, lounge, larger conservatories
  • loft conversions
  • internal structural alterations, such as the removal of a load-bearing wall or partition
  • installation of certain heat producing appliances
  • new chimneys or flues
  • installation of baths, showers, WCs which involve new drainage or waste plumbing
  • underpinning of foundations
  • altered openings for new windows in roofs or walls
  • replacing roof coverings
  • installation of cavity insulation
  • erection of new buildings, that are not exempt
  • access improvements for disabled people
  • replacement windows  
  • most domestic electrical systems - new or replacement - inside or outside  

Exemptions to the building regulations

There are certain buildings and works that are exempt from control. This is generally because they are buildings controlled by other legislation or are not normally occupied. These include:

  • small detached buildings
  • buildings not frequented by people
  • greenhouses and agricultural buildings
  • temporary buildings (temporary in this case means no more than 28 days)
  • certain porches and conservatories to dwellings (less than 30 square metres and subject to the installation of appropriate safety glazing)

Non-compliance with the building regulations

We prefer to work with you to meet minimum acceptable building standards, rather than take action for a breach of the regulations.

However, contravention of the building regulations is a criminal offence and action may be taken under section 35 of the Building Act 1984. If convicted, you could be fined up to £5,000 for each offence and may also have to pay a daily fine if the default continues after conviction.

Section 36 of the Building Act also allows a notice to be served which would require you to pull down or remove any work contravening the regulations or to bring the work into compliance with the regulations.

We are here to help you. Should you have a problem in complying with building standards, please contact us as soon as possible and we will endeavour to help you 'engineer' an appropriate solution.

If you are in any doubt please contact us with details of your particular proposal.

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This page was last updated on 6 April 2016

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