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Check if you need building regulations approval

Works requiring a Building Regulations Application

The following building works require a Building Regulations application to be made. This is not a comprehensive list, so please contact us if you are unsure.

  • The erection of a new building or the extension of an existing building. (e.g. a kitchen extension or loft conversion)
  • Structural alterations to an existing building. (e.g. underpinning, removal or alteration of load bearing walls, removal of a chimney)
  • Alterations which may affect the means of escape in case of fire. (e.g. changes of layout, changing the use of rooms, alterations to fire doors)
  • Changing the use of an existing building. (e.g. converting a house to flats, or a shop to an office)
  • The extension or alteration of certain services and fittings. (e.g. installing new drainage, replacing windows if the fitter is notFENSA registered)
  • Since the 1st January 2005, most electrical work is also included (if the installer is not registered on the ELECSA, NICEIC or NAPIT Competent Persons Scheme).
  • Since April 2006 renovating or replacing a wall, floor or roof has also fallen under the building regulations. (e.g. replacing a roof, re-tiling a roof, replacing a floor, re-plastering substantial areas)
  • Changes to a buildings energy status now also require building regulations. This might happen where a previously unheated space is being heated or where air conditioning is being installed.

What if I'm still unsure:

The Planning Portal Interactive house can provide you with further help.


If you are carrying out any other work, you should check with us if you need approval.

Works that are exempt from Building Regulations

The works listed below are generally exempt from building regulations, although there may be exceptions in certain circumstances. If you are unsure please contact one of the building control officers to discuss further.

Buildings not frequented by people

  • These are detached buildings, into which persons do not normally go or only go intermittently to inspect plant and machinery.
  • The exemption applies only if the building is sited at least one and a half times its height either from the boundary or from any point of a building into which people can or normally go.

Greenhouses and agricultural buildings

  • Greenhouses are only exempt providing they are not used for retailing, packing or exhibiting.
  • Agricultural buildings and buildings principally for keeping animals are exempt if they are not used as a dwelling, are at least one and a half times their height from any building where there is sleeping accommodation and have a fire exit not more than 30m from any point in a building.

Temporary buildings

  • Those which remain erected for less than 28 days.

Ancillary buildings

  • Building site offices containing no sleeping accommodation.
  • Estate sales buildings.
  • Buildings other than dwellings or offices used in connection with a mine or quarry.

Small detached buildings

  • Single storey buildings under 30m2 floor area, containing no sleeping accommodation, constructed substantially of non-combustible material, or sited at least one metre from the boundary. (e.g. detached single garage or shed)
  • A detached building, having a floor area not more than 15m2, with no sleeping accommodation, can be constructed of any material.
  • No heating or cooling systems installed.

Crown Property

  • Crown property is exempt from the Building Regulations.

Covered yard

  • Less than 30 square metres in area.

Covered way

  • Less than 30 square metres in area.

Car ports

  • Must be open on at least two sides.
  • The ends can be counted as sides and doors/windows are allowed between the house and carport.
  • Less than 30 square metres floor area.


A conservatory is exempt from Building Regulations as long as;

  • The floor area is less than 30 square metres.
  • At ground level.
  • At least 50% of new walls are of a transparent or translucent material.
  • At least 75% of the roof is of a transparent or translucent material.
  • It must be separated from the habitable parts of the dwelling by external quality windows / doors.
  • Any glazing below 1500mm in height in doors or within 300mm of a door must be toughened / laminated glass or polycarbonate.
  • Any glazing below 800mm in height must be toughened / laminated glass or polycarbonate.
  • Any heating or cooling systems must have independent controls / thermostat.


For a porch to be exempt from Building Regulations it must be;

  • Less than 30 square metres
  • It must be separated from the habitable parts of the dwelling by external quality windows / doors.
  • Any heating or cooling systems must have independent controls / thermostat.

For a full list of works that can be carried out without building regulations, please read our guide below.

Exempt works guidance sheet [33KB]

Meeting the requirements of the building regulations is the responsibility of the person carrying out the work and, if they're not the same person, the owner of the building.

Competent persons scheme

For some types of building work it is possible to use a contractor who is registered on a 'competent person' scheme instead of submitting a building regulations application

The  competent persons scheme allows people in the building trade to register to 'self certify' their own work without asking the council to certify them. If any of the following work is carried out by someone who is registered on this scheme, you don't need to apply to the council:

  • replacement windows and doors
  • combustion appliances - oil and solid fuel
  • electrical safety in dwellings
  • lighting and electrical heating systems
  • plumbing, heating and hot water systems

Electrical works guidance sheet [204KB]

Replacement windows guidance sheet [211KB]

Windows and doors - glazing guidance sheet [71KB]