Building control regulations

What comes under building control regulations and how we enforce them.

1. Work controlled by the regulations

The following building work is controlled by the regulations:

  • putting up a new building
  • extending or altering an existing building
  • providing services or fittings in a building such as washing and sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, foul water and rainwater drainage, replacement windows and fuel-burning appliances of any type.

Find out more about when you may need approval, see Building Regulations on the Planning Portal.

2. Material change of use

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a building so that it, or any part of it:

  • is used as a dwelling where it wasn't before
  • contains a flat where it didn't before
  • contains fewer or more flats than there were before
  • is used as a hotel or boarding house where it wasn't before
  • is used as an institution where it wasn't before
  • is used as a public building where it wasn't before
  • is not an 'exempt building' where it was before.

When a material change of use takes place, the building or affected part, needs to be upgraded to satisfy the regulations.

Fire safety, ventilation provision and energy conservation applies to all the cases above.

Structure, weather resistance, fire spread and sound insulation apply in specific cases.

3. Technical requirements

The technical requirements and guidance on how to meet the regulations are found on GOV.UK, however, please remember, that these are for advice only. See building regulations approval guidance.

There is an interactive diagram of a house on the planning portal which provides guidance on building regulations for common household projects, see: Interactive house diagram.

4. Enforcing building regulations

Building control carries out enforcement action where building work doesn't comply with building regulations or there is a danger to the health and safety of either the public or individuals.

Health and safety executive

The enforcement of site operations is outside the scope of building regulations.

If you are having construction or refurbishment work done, you may need to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Non-compliance with the building regulations

Breach of the building regulations is a criminal offence and action may be taken under Section 35 of the Building Act 1984 against a person who contravenes them.

If convicted, that person can be fined up to £5,000 for each offence, and may also have to pay a daily fine if the default continues after conviction.

Section 36 of the Building Act allows a notice to be served requiring the owner to do one of the following:

  • pull down or remove any work contravening the regulations
  • bring the work into compliance with the regulations.

Rather than take action for a breach of the regulations, we prefer people to work with us to achieve compliance. Formal enforcement action is usually taken as a last resort.

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