Check the approval you need for building work
Depending on the work you are doing, you might need planning permission, building regulation approval, or both. If you go ahead without permission or approval, you might end up having to put things back to how they were.
Building regulation approval
You need building regulation approval to check the work you are doing reaches safety and energy efficiency standards.
Home improvement projects
Do you want to create more space in your home, make it more energy efficient or perhaps you are looking to self-build? Whether your project is large or small our interactive guide can help you to plan and take the next steps to begin your building work.
Commercial or residential developments
Whether you are:
- Planning a large scale commercial project,
- Applying on behalf of a client
- Or changing the use of a building,
Our guidance about planning and building regulations can help you to stay compliant throughout the projects life cycle. We help you through to completion on time and in the budget.
Find more information on building regulations for common building projects for the home.
If you are employing a builder, the responsibility will usually be theirs. You must confirm this at the very beginning. You should know that if you are the owner of the building, it is you who will be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not follow the regulations.
Some kinds of building projects are exempt from the regulations. But generally, if you are planning to carry out 'building work' as defined in regulation 3 of the building regulations, then it must follow the building regulations.
This means that the regulations will probably apply if you want to:
- Put up a new building
- Extend or alter an existing one
This also includes providing services or fittings such as:
- Washing and sanitary facilities,
- Hot water cylinders,
- Foul water and rainwater drainage,
- Replacement windows,
- And fuel-burning appliances of any type
The works themselves must meet the technical requirements in the building regulations.
They must not make other fabric, services and fittings less compliant or dangerous than they were before.
For example, the replacement double-glazing must not make compliance worse for means of escape etc.
They may also apply to changes of use of an existing building. This is because the change of use may result in the building as a whole no longer complying with the requirements. Due to its new use, it will have to be upgraded to meet the requirements specified in the regulations.
In summary, the following types of project amount to 'building work':
- The erection or extension of a building
- The installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
- An alteration project involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings
- The insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
- The underpinning of the foundations of a building
- Work affecting the thermal elements, energy status or energy performance of a building
Before commencing work you should refer to Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations for the full meaning of 'building work' or, if you are unsure, seek advice.
Contact your water authority
You’ll probably need planning permission if you want to:
- Build something new
- Make a major change, like building an extension
- Change the use of your building
Registered Trades Person
You will not need buildings regulation approval if you are a registered tradesperson. Find out more below.