What type of application should I choose?

Full plans

We recommend that you apply for the full plans option if you wish to have your plans to be checked and approved before the work starts and to avoid any costly errors and corrective work on site by not being fully up to speed with the ever changing regulations.

An application for building regulations approval deposited under this procedure needs to contain plans and other information showing all construction details. this is best done well in advance of when work is due to start on site.

Your local authority will check your plans and consult any appropriate authorities.

If your plans comply with the building regulations you will receive a notice stating that they have been approved. If your local authority is not satisfied you may be asked to make amendments or provide more details, or a conditional approval may be issued. This will either specify modifications which must be made to the plans, or will specify further plans which must be deposited with your authority.

If your plans are rejected the reasons will be stated in the notice.

A full plans approval application is valid for three years from the date of deposit of the application. Once work has commenced the application will be valid until such time as the work is satisfactorily completed and a certificate issued.

Building notice

If the work is uncomplicated and you are happy that you or your builder has a reasonably good understanding of the building regulations, then you can use the building notice option.

The advantage of the building notice procedure is that detailed drawings are not formally required for approval, although some details such as structural calculations may be required. You may start work 48 hours after your notice has been received by the local authority.

Plans are not required with this process so it’s quicker and less detailed than the full plans application. It is designed to enable some types of building work to get under way quickly, although it is perhaps best suited to small or basic work.

There are also specific exclusions in the regulations as to when building notices cannot be used in relation to domestic work, a building notice cannot be used:

  • for work which will be built close to or over the top of rain water and foul drains shown on the 'map of sewers'
  • where a new building will front onto a private street
  • if a 'building notice' is valid for three years from the date the notice was given to the local authority, after which it will automatically lapse if the building work has not started. Once work has started the application will be valid until the work is satisfactorily completed and a certificate issued.


If the work has already recently started, or possibly even been completed, without proper consent, then a retrospective application can be made using a regularisation form.

You can even use this if the work was carried out by a former owner. Any work can potentially be regularised as long as it was carried out after the 11 November 1985.

The purpose of the process is to regularise the unauthorised works and obtain a certificate of regularisation. Depending on the circumstances, exposure, removal and/or rectification of works may be necessary to establish compliance with the building regulations.

It's best to contact your local authority building control (LABC) team to discuss your individual circumstances before submitting a building control regularisation application.


Under the Building Act 1984 it is possible for a third party approved inspector to carry out the building control function for controllable work, to do so they submit an initial notice to the council. This removes the council from any obligation to control the work and approval of the work is therefore subject to the approved inspectors control.

Where the approved inspector is no longer able to carry out that function, for whatever reason, and the work has not started, the initial notice will need to be cancelled in the first instance to allow another approved body, such as your local authority building control team, to undertake the regulatory work. The cancellation notice can either be submitted by the approved inspector or by the person carrying out the work.

The work will then need to revert to your local authority building control team in the form of a reversion application. Your local authority building control team are the only body allowed to retrospectively approve work.

Please note a person failing to submit, without reasonable excuse, a cancellation notice, in the case of an approved inspector no longer being able to carry out their building control function, is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

In order to make a reversion application you will need to contact your local authority building control (LABC) team. They will arrange for a surveyor to come to site to assess the status of work, what will need to be done to obtain compliance and to confirm our fee to do so. We will aim to work with you to ensure works can be approved and appropriate certification issued in as timely a fashion as possible.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to submit a reversion application online due to the bespoke nature of each application. Please contact us to discuss your application.


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.