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Changing the Use of a Building, altering the structure or internal layout of a building

In some cases it is necessary to apply for Building Regulation consent even if no actual building work is being carried out, because the use of the building itself is changing. This occurs where:

  • The building is used as a dwelling where previously it was not (barn conversions for example)
  • The building contains a flat where previously it did not
  • The building is used as a hotel or boarding house where previously it was not
  • The building is used as an institution where previously it was not
  • The building is used as a public building where previously it was not
  • The building is changed from an exempt use to one which is not
  • The total number of dwellings in a building is changed

Internal alterations and repairs

Here are some steps you will need to take before carrying out internal alterations. Not all of these will require building regulation approval – the basic rule of thumb is that if the work involves load bearing walls, chimneys, fireplaces or walls around staircases then any alteration will require inspection and approval from your local building control team.

If you are carrying out minor alterations such as replacing roofing tiles with the same type and weight of tile; replacing the felt to a flat roof; re-pointing brickwork; or replacing floorboards you will not need the work signed off by your local building control team.

  • Building, removing or altering walls
  • Internal walls have a number of functions: some keep the ceiling and upper floors up, some are there to help you escape from your home if there was a fire and others simply divide up space
  • Load bearing walls – these are fundamental to the structure of your home and you should get expert advice from an architect or structural engineer before they are altered, built or removed. When removing a load bearing wall a structural engineer considers the loads on the wall and will design a beam and other supporting structures to safely transmit the loads to the ground
  • Fire protection – walls around staircases offer protection to allow you to escape in the event of a fire, so altering these walls will mean you will probably need to take other measures such as fitting smoke alarms or upstairs windows suitable for fire escape to compensate. Page 3 Link Material

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