Building regulations protect the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in and around buildings.
They recommend basic standards in:
- structural stability
- fire safety
- sound insulation
- stairs, ramps and guards
- energy conservation
- access to and use of buildings
- heat producing appliances
- electrical safety
The regulations generally apply to new, extended and altered buildings, whether they are residential, commercial or industrial.
Building regulations guidance Toggle accordion
If you think your project needs approvals
Whilst there is no simple answer to this as every project is different, there are some common activities and processes that normally follow.
Stepping through each systematically, will help you keep control of your project.
Step 1: Contact the council to check
If you're sure of your facts you can skip this but we’d always recommend contacting your planning and building control departments.
We can confirm what you need to apply for and give you other useful advice at this stage.
We recommend that you contact us in writing.
Step 2: Clarify your project
We have seen many projects change halfway through because plans were not thought-through.
Make sure you know what you want to achieve.
By this stage you should be thinking about questions such as:
- What size do I want the building/extension to be?
- How do I want the internal layout to work?
- What design will I use in terms of materials and construction methods?
- What fixtures and fittings do I intend having?
Poor preparation can lead to considerable increases in the time and money spent on a project. Having a clear goal allows you to go forward with confidence.
Step 3: Decide if you need an agent and start getting your approvals
For more complex works you should consider seeking the help of a qualified agent.
They will help you refine your ideas and will develop the project for you. They will also be able to advise you on what other permissions are required.
In our experience, when complex projects are submitted under a Building Notice you often find that the customer and builder can’t agree on the way forward or the costs.
Having proper plans drawn can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
You may also be considering the finance costs for the project should you need to take out a small loan.
With properly costed plans you can meet your lender with confidence about the sum you wish to borrow.
Step 4: Consult your neighbours
On many projects your neighbours will have an interest in what you are intending to do.
This may be because you share a party wall or access to the rear, etc.
As a courtesy we always advise that you arrange to meet your neighbours with your plans and discuss your project with them.
You may answer some of their concerns by simply telling them information such as:
- when you intend to start works
- how long it should take
- what if anything you’ll need from them
- how you’ll safeguard their interests
They may also be able to offer support and advice.
Step 5: Hire your builder
Selecting your builder is a key task and by no means easy.
We’ve provided some common sense tips in our Building Control Dos and Don’ts page.
Use these and you may be able to reduce a lot of the risk associated with selecting a builder and hopefully avoid many of the problems that we often witness.
Step 6: Get your approvals
You should never start work on site until you’ve got the necessary approvals.
Once you or your agent have obtained these you’re good to go.
Make sure you keep copies of the approval(s) in your project file as they may have certain conditions attached that you’ll need to comply with.
Step 7: Do the work
We will inspect the work for compliance with the regulations at certain key stages.
You’d be surprised by the number of customers we meet that don’t keep a project file.
We see this as an essential tool as it helps you keep your project on track once you start on site.
Documents that should be readily available should you need them include:
- invoices from the builders
- monies you’ve paid and for what
- letters to and from the architect
- records of building control inspections
This is particularly important in dealing with disputes.
Easy identification of the issues and responsibilities will help make sure that money and time are not wasted and that your project stays on track.
Step 8: Completion and sign-off
When is the project finished?
If you’ve kept a project file you’ll know the answer to this, because you’ll have your Completion Certificate from us.
Customers often tell us that their builder had said everything was finished and that they have paid them only to find that some points (which can sometimes be significant), are still outstanding.
It can be very difficult to get a builder back to rectify works once they’ve been paid in full.
Complying with building regulations Toggle accordion
Practical help on how to comply with the building regulations:
There is an approved document for each section of the building regulations.
Each document contains:
- general guidance on the performance expected of materials and building work in order to comply with each of the requirements
- practical examples and solutions on how to achieve compliance for some of the more common building situations
The person doing the work on your property could be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000 if they don’t comply with building regulations.
Building Control Service
Town Hall, 1 Town Square, Barking IG11 7LU