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
3. Site inspections
Public health coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines
A normal service will be available subject to a risk assessment. If anyone on site has symptoms of coronavirus at the time we are due to carry out the inspection, please let us know.
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.
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.
Notification of stages of building works.
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: Building control Planning Portal.
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. The Partner Authority Scheme
We are members of the local authority building control Partner Authority Scheme (PAS). This allows a company to partner with a local authority of its choice. The partner authority will deal with all aspects of design including plans examination and pre-application advice, and coordinate all necessary consultations wherever the project is located. Site inspections will be carried out by the local authority where the project is to be built, but in close liaison with the partner authority.
The PAS offers the benefits of a single point of contact for all plans’ examinations combined with a locally-based, faster site inspection service. The scheme is suitable for all companies that build across a wide geographical area and also benefits architects and design and build contractors. Please contact our Duty Officer on 020 8753 3387 for more information about the scheme.
7. The approval process
The building regulations apply to most building work, therefore it is important to know when approval is needed.
Building Control is responsible for checking that the building regulations have been met.
The person carrying out the work is legally responsible for getting approval for the building work and complying with the regulations. Please tell us that you are carrying out building work.
Contact us at email@example.com or 020 8753 3387.
The procedures are set out in the building regulations. Some of them relate to pre-site procedures and others relate to procedures once work is under way on site.
In addition to building control approval, consent will also be required if leaseholders want to carry out building work where the council is the freeholder. You are advised to telephone the council’s team which deals with housing property compliance on 020 8753 4005 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if, as a leaseholder you are thinking of building a loft, extension or basement to a property to which the council owns the freehold, you should contact H&F Homebuy on 020 8753 6464 or h&fHome-Buy@lbhf.gov.uk.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Solicitors enquiries
Where the work has been completed and a completion certificate/letter has already been issued, there is a charge of £109.50 for up to three completion letters on the same property.
Where an application which requires a site inspection in order to issue the completion letter, there is a charge of £218.90.
For a Fast-track Completion Certificate for jobs older than 3 years, where no completion inspection had been requested nor carried out and a site inspection and completion certificate is required within 48 hours, there is a charge of £328.40 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 or obtain historic files or plans
Unfortunately, we are no longer providing access to view plans from our offices or issue copies of documents.
The information submitted under the Building Regulations are confidential between the applicant and the council.
We trust you understand the legal constraints placed on us and why we may not be able to provide the information you have requested.
You can however find data on the description of work and the status of an application which are published on our Public access portal as the council tries to ensure we are open and transparent about the data that can be shared here: Building Control property search.
You may also find other useful information by searching the Planning access portal here: Planning property search.
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
0870 013 0382