The Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to buildings in the UK. Any project you undertake must adhere to them.
Building Regulations are designed to ensure buildings are safe, structurally sound, and water and energy efficient. They must also be constructed in a way that allows access for people with disabilities.
They are grouped into 15 technical categories, from A to Q, known as ‘approved documents’. These are:
A full breakdown of The Building Regulations 2010 can be found here.
Planning permission decisions are focused on whether development should go ahead or not – taking into account the appearance of buildings and the impact development will have on the wider environment.
Building Regulations, on the other hand, relate to how a building should be constructed.
UK Building Control services work to make sure all buildings are designed and constructed in line with Building Regulations.
Your local council should have a Building Control department, where Building Control officers (also known as building inspectors) are usually based.
Some Building Control officers are Approved Inspectors working in the private sector instead.
If you’re undertaking any building or alteration work within your home, you should check whether it needs to be signed off as being compliant with Building Regulations.
On this page of the Planning Portal website – co-produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government – you’ll find Building Regulations guidance for many common building projects.
Some projects that need to comply with Building Regulations must be signed off by Building Control officers. These include:
If you use a local authority Building Control office, there are three types of application:
Once work is underway, the Building Control Service will need to make routine site inspections at various stages. Notice should be given to allow Building Control adequate time to inspect the work.
If suitable notice isn’t given, Building Control may ask for work to be opened up for inspection. Talk to your local Building Control Service for more information about the inspection process.
If you use an Approved Inspector from the private sector, you should jointly notify your local authority that an Approved Inspector is carrying out the building control function.
Find out more about how to apply to Building Control.
There is also a group of projects that need to comply with Building Regulations, but can be self-certified and signed off by the installer themself – if that tradesman is registered with a relevant Competent Person Scheme.
Competent Person Schemes were introduced by the government to allow individuals and businesses to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations.
Tradesmen who are registered with a Competent Person Scheme are vetted to ensure they are qualified to carry out specific types of work in accordance with the Building Regulations.
Examples of projects that fall into this category include:
Registered tradesmen will notify Building Control on your behalf and issue you with a certificate of completion.
If you don’t use a registered tradesman, then you will have to notify Building Control and pay a fee to have the work inspected.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has more information about the types of work covered by Competent Person Schemes, and the details of each initiative.
You don’t need Building Regulations approval for certain exempt projects. These include:
Read more about exemptions from Building Regulations.
Whoever carries out the building work should be responsible for ensuring that the work is compliant with the Building Regulations.
However, responsibility ultimately lies with the building owner, who may be served a notice if work doesn’t comply with the Building Regulations.
If your local authority considers that the building work doesn’t comply with Building Regulations, they won’t issue you with a completion certificate.
Unless work is rectified, any contraventions will appear in local land searches if you sell your property.
And you may also be subject to enforcement notices and fines.