Do I need building regulations?

The work you are undertaking may not require building regulations approval and would subsequently require planning permission instead, which is subject to different regulations. You can view the Planning Portal's interactive house to get a better insight into what you may need to apply for.

It is also important to note that building regulations and town and country planning are completely separate.

The town and country planning process is designed to regulate the development and use of land. When you make a planning application you are seeking permission to enable you to carry out development.

Could I need building regulations approval and planning permission?

Yes. In most, but not all cases, a proposed development could require both planning permission and building regulations approval.

In these circumstances you would have to make two separate applications, including paying two separate fees, to have your applications considered.

It has been normal practice for designers to seek planning permission before making a building regulation application. However, the requirements of building regulations compliance, particularly with regard to access for fire fighting vehicles, means of escape and structural fire precautions, together with the provision of access for disabled people, will have significant bearing on the ultimate design of a building and the external layout of the site.

To ensure the smooth processing of both planning and building regulation approval applications, particularly for more complex projects, you are strongly advised to contact both Building Control and Planning staff to discuss your proposals prior to making any applications. If necessary, they will then involve other interested agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Service, to make sure you receive the best advice from one meeting.


Exemptions only relate to building control applications and you may need to apply for planning permission separately, particularly if you live in, or are carrying out work, to a property that is listed or within a conservation area.

Work that does not need building control approval:

  • additional power or lighting points and switches (except around baths and showers)
  • alterations to existing circuits (except around baths and showers)
  • boundary or garden walls, fences and gates
  • like for like replacements of baths, toilets, basins or sinks
  • maintenance work
  • minor repairs
  • replacing less than 25 per cent of an item, like for like
  • in some cases, works that are being carried out by competent registered persons (check details for this with your local LABC team).

Buildings that do not need building control approval:

  • a carport open on at least two sides
  • a covered yard or covered way less than 30m2
  • a conservatory or porch that is less than 30m2, with a significant proportion of the roof and walls glazed (no per cent given), it must be at ground level, it must comply with relevant sections of Part K (glazing), be thermally separated from the dwelling by external quality windows and/or doors and the buildings heating system must not be extended into the conservatory or porch.
  • an extension to a building at ground level consisting of a porch of less than 30m2 floor area and separated from the house by an external type door
  • buildings included in the schedule to section 1 of the Ancients Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act
  • buildings other than houses or offices erected on a site licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act
  • buildings subject to the Explosives Act
  • buildings that are not frequented by people (check with your local LABC team)
  • crown property
  • detached single storey buildings, including garages, that are less than 30m2 floor area and at least one metre from any boundary unless constructed of non combustible materials and contains no sleeping accommodation
  • detached single storey buildings that are less than 15m2 floor area
  • greenhouses (providing they are not used for retail, packing or exhibiting)
  • some agricultural buildings (check with your local LABC team)
  • some small detached buildings (check with your local LABC team)
  • some ancillary buildings such as estate sales buildings and building site offices without sleeping accommodation
  • temporary buildings (erected for less than 28 days)
  • don’t forget that you might still need approval for any enabling works. For example creating a wider opening into an exempt conservatory would still need approval for the structural alteration to widen the opening.