Building Regulations

Building Regulations approval is required in order to construct the proposed works. This follows swiftly after planning permission is granted. Whereas Planning Permission (or consent) is concerned with the aesthetic impact and the way in which it affects the access to the property and surrounding areas, Building Regs approval is concerned with the safety and well being of the occupants now and in the future. It is broken into a number of areas such as 'Fire Safety', 'Thermal Efficiency' and 'Structure' to name but a few. All aspects of the building work must comply with these Regulations which come in the form of Approved Documents. They are publically accessible and may be found here as PDFs. If you take a look, you may be daunted at the technicality of the documents. The standards have been revised over decades and are somewhat complex but this is where our expertise comes into play and we will make sure that the works comply with the Regulations.

One consultant who will definitely need to be involved in 99% of house extension work is a Structural Engineer. We have existing relationships with Structural Engineers in the area and will be able to assist you in the appointment of a suitable one. It doesnt make sense to appoint one before planning permission is granted. They will need to submit calculations to the local authority as part of the Building Regulations approval process.

Building Notice or Full Plans?

Unlike Planning, there are 2 different ways to make a submission to Building Control. One is by way of a 'Notice' and the other is 'Full Plans Application'. As the name suggests, a Full Plans Application involves preparing and submitting a full set of plans which include a high level of detail for every component of a building project. Even down to the exact gap in the double glazing for instance. This is a safe and robust option as it ensures that the building work will be signed off at the end of the construction as long as the builder sticks to the specification on the drawings.

The other way is on a 'Building Notice'. This suits smaller projects as it involves less time from our perspective and therefore cost. There is a form to fill in and a fee to pay and then the Building Control officer will visit the property at key stages in the building work to check for compliance. This is quicker as the Full Plans route can take weeks before it is approved.

As well as 2 different routes of submission, there are 2 different kind of bodies you can submit to. One is the local authority themselves and the other is an 'Authorised Inspector' - a licensed private company with the same powers to sign off as the Local Authority. This can be quicker as you can imagine private companies needing to ensure speed of turnover. The prices they charge are often very close to the LA fees.

We prefer the use of an 'Authorised Inspector' but the choice is ultimately yours.

GJA can handle all aspects of the Building Regs approval process for you. We will simply need you to commission the structural engineer directly but we will liase with them at all times.

Types of building work

Extensions and Loft Conversions

Even though a lot of extensions can be built under Permitted Development, all will need Building Regulations approval and will need to be inspected at key points in the build. The conversion of a loft into a habitable room also requires approval and inspection. The main consideration with loft conversions is the fire safety aspect. This may mean upgrading ground floor doors and even the need to enclose stairwells.

Extensions and loft conversions may also be subject to the Party Wall Act 1996.

Internal alterations and garage conversions

Where building work requires altering the structure of the property and insertion of steelwork, it will require approval. The thermal efficiency of the newly created habitable space will also need to be up to current standards.

Porches and Conservatories

The construction of porches and conservatories does not need approval but must comply with the following:

  • They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area
  • At least half of the new wall and three quarters of the roof is either glazed or translucent material
  • The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality door(s).
  • Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable building regulations requirements

Replacement Windows

If you are replacing the whole window unit, you need to get a FENSA registered installer to fit them. They will take care of the registration with the local authority. You should receive a copy of the FENSA certificate which is may well be asked for when selling a property.

Insulating Cavity Walls

If you are having your cavity walls filled with insulation beads or pellets, the installer you choose to undertake the work should ensure that the correct approvals are obtained.

Fitting a WC

Building Regulations approval is required if there are alterations to existing WC’s or new connections made to a drainage stack or any underground drain.

Attached Garages

Building Regulations approval is required when constructing a new attached garage.

Detached Garages

Detached garages do not require Building Regulations approval if the floor area is under 30m and the structure is single-storey with no sleeping accommodation. Additionally, it must be built of non-combustible materials and be no less than 1m from the boundary of a property.

Car Ports

Car port extensions do not require Building Regulations approval, but must be open on at least two sides and be under 30m in floor area.