Guide to building control applications
1. Full plans application
A full plans application must be made when there is a proposal to carry out building works to:
- a building which is not a single family dwelling house, for example a block of flats, office or shop etc
- erect a building fronting a private street
- construct over or within 3 metres of a public sewer
The change to extend the types of property needing a full plans application is the result of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO). This requires plans of building work for most buildings to be sent to the fire authority for formal consultation.
The advantages of making a full plans application include:
- having your plans checked by our surveyors and approved as complying with the building regulations
- receiving a set of approved plans and near immunity from enforcement action if you build in accordance with those plans
- a greater certainty of the final building costs
Apply: see Make a building control application
Your application must include a clear description of the work you are proposing to carry out, a full set of plans and any other supporting documents.
2. Building notice
If your building work does not affect the layout of the building and is not affected by the RRO, you can submit a building notice instead of a full plans application.
As plans are not formally approved, our surveyors will check the regulations at site inspections, however, you will lose the assurance of building in accordance with approved plans and there may be delays to your project if work is found not to comply.
You are required to provide the plans if we decide we need them to determine if the work complies with the building regulations. This will always be the case where a change in layout of any building is proposed. We will attempt to comment on your drawings in the same timescales as those that apply to full plans applications.
Apply: see Make a building control application
Public health coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines
In line with current Government guidance, construction works are permitted to continue, providing that the sites follow public heath COVID-19 guidelines. Unfortunately, we do not have any powers to stop construction works from being carried out even at this unprecedented time.
Construction industry bodies are currently in discussion with the Government as many sites are at risk of closing, putting construction companies at risk of bankruptcy which effects the livelihood of large numbers of construction workers. It is being reported that construction companies are experiencing supply shortages and as such many sites are reducing operations or in some cases, closing voluntarily.
We will review the situation as it develops and follow the advice as provided by the Government. For the time being, we are happy to contact construction companies and developers, asking them to be considerate to residents and to be aware that many people will be working from home in the coming weeks and months. If you are happy to provide the following information, we will contact the site, ask them to be more considerate in this difficult time and ask for a phone number to be provided so that residents can contact them with any specific issues.
- address of the site
- name of the construction company
- works contact number or email (normally found on the information board on the site hoarding).
Noise: If the works are causing unacceptable levels of noise or vibration please can you contact the noise and nuisance service on 020 8753 1081 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Officers are not currently able to visit sites or residents’ homes but will assess the noise from outside and take appropriate action.
Non-adherence to social distancing: If your concern relates to workers on the construction site not adhering to the public health guidelines, in relation to social distancing, please would you contact the HSE. If the matter relates to workers off the construction site please contact the police by calling 101. If your query relates to anything other than what is covered here, please contact our trading standards service on 020 8753 1081 or by email email@example.com
Building regulations: For matters relating to building regulations please would you contact the building control team on 020 8753 3387 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our surveyors are still inspecting work in certain cases, subject to appropriate risk assessments. They will use photographs and video evidence as the preferred option wherever possible to keep to national social distancing instructions. Site inspections are only done where other methods are not possible and where there is a potential for serious defect without an inspection.
As you may appreciate, many council staff are at the centre of COVID-19 operations, providing support to families and the at risk in our community and may not be in a position to deal with your situation immediately.
Notification of building work
You must tell us when you are starting work. Please do this on your application form or write or email the date to us at least 2 days before starting.
You must let us know about the early stages of the work (ie foundations, damp-proof courses and underground drainage) particularly where the work will be concealed following inspection. We advise you to let us know when other work such as fire stopping, structural members and insulating materials may be inspected before they are covered over.
In some cases, we will want to witness or test that systems work. It is always advisable to have preliminary tests undertaken before we arrive, as delays will occur if a test fails.
You must also write or email us to notify that the work is completed. We will make a final inspection before we certify the all the work fully complies with the regulations. It is best to do this while the builder is on site.
Tell us when you have completed each stage of your project.
4. Completion certificates
It is our policy to issue a completion certificate:
- once all fees have been paid
- as soon as a satisfactory final inspection has been made
- once the work has been found to comply with the regulations
This certificate is a very important document when a property is to be sold. We usually send the certificate to the owner identified on the application form, but can send it to others if you ask us.
To make sure you receive your completion certificate promptly, please notify us of completion in good time and make sure you have paid all the fees due.
If needed, make a payment: Make a building control application payment
5. Regularisation certificates
Where unauthorised work has been completed, the building owner may apply for a certificate to regularise the work.
Apply via Submit-a-plan
Or apply by post using this form
You should include details of the work undertaken and a regularisation fee should accompany the application.
We may ask for any concealed work to be exposed for our inspection and require further work to be carried out to comply with the regulations before we can issue a certificate.
See also Make a building control application
6. Works controlled under the regulations
Not all works undertaken by a builder are controlled under the building regulations. It is common for a third of the value of a project to be uncontrolled works.
The definition of building works is given in the regulations on this page.
See: Building regulations
7. Exempt buildings
Building regulations mean that certain types of buildings are exempt from needing to make an application. These include:
- detached buildings housing machinery or plant which people do not visit except for maintenance or repair
- some greenhouses and agricultural buildings
- small detached buildings under 30m2 where no sleeping accommodation is provided
- extensions of a building by the addition at ground level (ie on its own foundations) of conservatories, canopies, porches, covered ways and car ports, all with a floor area not exceeding 30m2
The construction and distance from boundaries are controlled in some cases.
See Schedule 2 (Exempt Buildings and Work) of the regulations for details.
8. Special and temporary structures (London Building Act - Section 30)
Certain special or temporary structures such as flag poles, flue pipes, temporary stands, stages or screens for special events, and freestanding boundary walls greater than 1.8m in height require consent to be erected.
To get consent, you will need to make an application.
Once this form has been submitted and checked, consent will be issued, usually with certain conditions attached, relating to the erection and maintenance of the structure, and an expiry date when it must be removed.
After we register your application, we'll email you to tell you what you'll need to pay and how.
9. Solicitors enquiries
Where the work has been completed and a completion certificate/letter has already been issued, there is a charge of £100 for up to three completion letters on the same property. We charge £200 for each application which requires a site inspection in order to issue the completion letter and if more than one inspection it will incur a cost of £300 per application.
If you are enquiring about a completion certificate/letter for an application submitted to this office before 1996, we may be able to confirm that the works appear to have been satisfactorily carried out in accordance with the regulations applicable at that time. As the works are over 20 years old, we cannot issue a completion certificate/letter. You may wish to engage a Chartered Surveyor to undertake a survey of the property to ensure that you (or your clients) interests are fully safeguarded.
We can only issue the letters when the fee is paid in full, either by cheque or card. We aim to process your request within three working days from receipt of payment.
Please email your request to email@example.com or post it to:
Building Control Services
Hammersmith Town Hall
London W6 9JU
Requests to view files
We are only obliged to keep building control files for 15 years. Any files from before the year 2000 have been destroyed and are no longer available to view.
Others who can issue completion certificates
The following Competent Person Scheme operators are approved by the government to self-certify their work for building regulations compliance purposes. This allows contractors to carry out their work without having to go through the local authority building control process.
On such works we have no involvement, except to receive electronic notification from the operators that one of their registered contractors is carrying out works to a property within the borough. Unfortunately, we do not receive the actual certificates, so please contact the scheme operators below for more details:
0333 321 8220
020 7645 3700
0800 408 5500
0845 543 0330
0870 013 0382