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What Are Building Regulations?

Q: What are the Building Regulations?

Q: What is the difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?

Q: Who administers the Building Regulations?

Q: What do the regulations cover?

Q: What happens if I don't comply with the regulations?

Q: What can I do if I have already carried out work without permission, is it too late to apply?

Q: Are there any penalties for not complying with the building regulations?

Q:Do I need to follow the Approved Documents to comply with the Building regulations?


Q: What are the Building Regulations?

A: A majority of building projects are required to comply with the Building Regulations which ensure the health and safety of people in and around all types of buildings. They also cover energy conservation, and access and facilities to buildings ensuring they can be used by everyone.

Building Regulations ensure buildings are habitable, safe, dry and warm, when building or making alterations to your property and set the standard for the design and construction of buildings.

The Building Regulations are made under powers provided in the Building Act 1984, and apply in England and Wales. The current edition of the regulations is The Building Regulations 2010, these form the basis for the approved documents and supporting documentation.

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Q: What is the difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?

A: Planning Permission rules determine whether you are allowed to go ahead with a building project whereas the Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.

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Q: Who administers the Building Regulations?

A: The Building Regulation Control can be administered by Local Authorities, private sector and Approved Inspectors; however only Local Authorities have powers to enforce the regulations. All service providers must keep to the Building Control Performance Standards document which lays down a suggested framework for level of service provision.

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Q: What do the regulations cover?

A: The Building Regulations cover the erection of new buildings, the extension or alteration of existing buildings and the provision of a controlled service or fitting (e.g. drainage, heat producing appliances) and where certain changes of use to a building occur.

There are certain minor building works that do not require approval. Please contact us for specific information regarding your project

The Building Regulations are arranged in Approved Documents, covering the following:

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

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Q: What happens if I don't comply with the regulations?

A: Work carried out without Building Control Approval is classified as unauthorised. The Local Authority has powers to take legal action to require an application to be made and you may have to expose some areas of work for inspection to establish compliance with the Building Regulations. You could also be fined for failing to comply and/or pay to have offending work altered to meet Building Regulations.  In extreme cases work may be required to be taken down. 

The most serious problem will be the effect on any future house sale. Approval Notices and Completion Certificates are now needed as standard as part of conveyance so you may experience problems selling additionally your house insurance could be invalidated.

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Q: What can I do if I have already carried out work without permission, is it too late to apply?

A: If the work was carried out after November 1985 you can apply retrospectively for a Regularisation Certificate.  You may have to expose some areas of work for inspection to establish compliance with the Building Regulations in force at the time the work was carried out.  There are some areas that the Local Authority may exclude from the Certificate because it is impossible to determine adequacy without substantial damage.

If the work was completed prior to November 1985 the work cannot be regularised.

To see if we can give you retrospective approval please contact us

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Q: Are there any penalties for not complying with the building regulations?

A: Yes, if CNC consider the work does not comply with the regulations it has powers to order you to take down or alter the work.  In the case of serious and persistent contraventions, you could be fined for failing to comply.

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Q: Do I need to follow the Approved Documents to comply with the Building regulations?

A: The legal presumption is if you have followed the guidance in the documents, this is evidence that your work has complied with the Building Regulations. However the guidance in the documents is not statutory and does not have to be followed. If you wish to design and construct your building work in another way, you may do so providing you can show that it complies with relevant regulation requirements.

The guidance in the Approved Documents will be taken into account when considering whether your plans of proposed work, or work in progress, comply with particular requirements. 

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