Projects that need approval

Renewable energy projects

In most cases you will need approval for renewable energy projects if it is concerning the production of electricity, heat or cooling by means of microgeneration.

For example:

  • active solar technology
  • biomass or combined heat and power (CHP) flues
  • ground or water sourced heat pumps
  • wind turbines, etc.

You do not need approval if the work is done by an installer who is registered with a government approved 'Competent Persons Scheme' and the work is certified under the scheme (Building Regulations 2010, Schedule 3, Item 17). Where applicable (active solar technology and wind turbines), make sure that the terms of their authorisation includes all relevant structural aspects.

If this does not apply to you then you will need to submit a Building Notice application, including manufacturers details and all other relevant technical information.

Altering a shop front, house or office

Shop front alterations

Altering a shop front is classed as building work and as such approval is required.

You will need to consider specifically the thermal performance of the new structure, fire safety particularly in relation to means of escape and access for all requirements.

Please contact Building Control for advice.

Converting a house to a shop or office

You will need approval to convert your house into a shop or an office. You will be expected to address fire safety, toilets and sanitary facilities, waste disposal, conservation of fuel and power and accessibility.

We will consult with Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade, for their input under the Fire Safety Regulatory Reform Order 2005.

Converting your house into flats or flats back into a house

Even where little 'construction work' may be intended, approval is still needed. This is necessary to check that adequate sound insulation, fire separation and a safe means of escape in case of fire is maintained or provided as necessary.

Installing new or replacement windows in a house, shop or office

You need approval in all cases to install or replace windows. However, if the proposals apply to a dwelling, certain competent installers authorised under the building regulations can self-certify compliance. If a larger opening is required, or if the existing frames are load bearing, then a structural alteration will take place and approval will also be required for a new lintel.

You must maintain or provide adequate opening ventilation. You must not remove those opening windows, which are necessary as a means of escape in case of fire. If you do not already have opening windows in your dwelling's bedrooms and other habitable rooms, we recommend that you consider taking this opportunity to provide them, in accordance with the guidance in Approved Document B1.

Making internal alternations within a house, shop or office

This largely depends on the extent and nature of the alterations. We would recommend you contact Building Control with any specific query, however generally:

  1. Within a dwelling, yes, if the alterations are to the structure of the dwelling such as the removal or part removal of a load bearing wall, joist, beam or chimney breast, or would affect fire safety or escape routes i.e. creating an open plan layout or inner rooms. You also need approval if, in altering a house, work is necessary to the drainage system.
  2. Within a shop or office, yes, if the works effect the building structure, internal finishes, fire safety measures or means of escape, alteration of any controlled service or fitting such as the heating system, hot water system, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems.

In both cases, approval is also needed for the renovation or replacement of any thermal element of a building, unless the work applies to less than 25% of that element, for example re-plastering an external wall.


Installing fittings and appliances within a house, shop or office

You need approval to install or alter the position of a toilet, shower, bath, basin, sink and its drainage, where the work involves new or an extension of drainage or plumbing.

If the work is supervised by a registered installer or competent person, authorised under the building regulations you do not need approval.

To install or alter the position of a heating appliance:

  • Gas: Yes, unless a GASAFE (or equivalent) registered installer under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations supervises the work
  • Solid fuel: Yes. Unless the work is supervised by a HEATAS (or equivalent) registered installer, authorised under the Building Regulation
  • Oil: Yes. Unless the work is supervised by an OFTEC (or equivalent) registered installer, authorised under the Building Regulation
  • Electric: Yes, for domestic properties unless the work is carried out by a competent person, authorised under the Building Regulation

To alter in any way (re-using of old chimneys or closed fireplaces) the construction of chimneys, fireplaces, hearths or flues: Yes. See detailed guidance in Approved Document J

To install (new or replacement) hot water storage: Yes in all cases, unless the work is supervised by a registered installer authorised under the building regulations.

Repairs to my house, shop or office

Repairs of a minor nature, such as replacing only the felt to a flat roof, repointing brickwork, replacing a few floorboards, or piecing in of wood to replace rotten wood do not require building regulation approval.

If the 'repair work' is more substantial in nature, such as removing part of a wall and rebuilding it, replacing a structural element, underpinning a building or where carrying out works to more than 25% of a thermal element such as an external wall, roof, floor ceiling etc, you do need approval.

In the case of re-roofing, the details required will depend upon the type and extent of the work proposed, especially if the new roofing material is heavier or lighter than the original. You may be required to upgrade the thermal insulation as well as replacing the roof covering.

If you are converting a flat roof to a pitched roof then approval is required.

Heating and electrics

Replacing a central heating boiler and / or hot water system

You need approval to replace a central heating boiler and / or hot water system, however, some registered installers may be able to 'self-certify' that their work complies with the Building Regulations. Boilers require Commissioning Certificates.

Guidance is available in the new Approved Documents for Part L1 and L2. See Conservation of fuel and power: Approved Document L

Installing a gas, solid fuel, wood or multi-fuel burning appliance

You will need approval to carry out these works unless the work is done by an installer who is registered with a government approved 'Competent Persons Scheme' and the work is certified under such a scheme.

If this is not the case, you will need to submit a Building Notice application, including manufacturers details for the appliance, chimney / flue details, room ventilation details, proximity of combustible materials, etc.

For solid fuel / wood / multi-fuel burning appliances, an existing flue must be tested, and spillage and flue smoke tests must be carried out, by a member of a suitable trade association. A carbon monoxide detector will also be required adjacent to the appliance.

Additionally, you should bear in mind that almost all of South Tyneside is covered by smoke control orders that prohibit the emission of smoke from chimneys, other than in certain specific circumstances.

You should establish whether the appliance is suitable for use in a Smoke Control Area, and the supplier should be able to provide that information.

Some appliances are exempt (because they minimise smoke emissions) and some fuels are approved for use. For more information see:

Guidance on smoke control areas

Installing or replacing electric wiring

You need approval to replace electric wiring in domestic properties.

Part P Electrical Safety was introduced in 2005 and mainly applies to dwelling houses, and flats, including their gardens and outbuildings such as sheds, garages and greenhouses, it even covers garden pond pumps. 

Small installations such as extra sockets or lights on an existing circuit do not need to be notified to Building Control, although there are some exceptions for high risk areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

For further information see the guide to extending your home.

There are two routes available to show compliance with the Building Regulations:

  1. Use an electrician or installer who is a competent person registered with a part P Self Certification Scheme. We would strongly encourage this approach and the use of electricians or installers who are registered with a competent Persons Scheme.
  2. Submit a Building Regulation application to the council. Where this approach is taken, Building Control will respond in one of two ways:
    1. Where an electrician registered with a recognised trade body such as NICEIC, ECA or NAPIT etc, but who is not necessarily registered under a Competent Persons Scheme, tests the work and issues a design, installation and test certificate under BS 7671, in conjunction with Building Control carrying out inspections of the installation, Building Control will accept that the work complies with Part P Approved Document P.
    2. Where work is carried out by an unregistered electrician, or is a DIY installation, the applicant is required to have the work inspected and tested by Building Control. Where it is known that this route will be taken the cost of testing will be included in the charges associated with the application.

Opening up and re-using or building a chimney / fireplace

You need approval to carry out these works. An old masonry chimney may require relining. Guidance with constructional details is available in the Approved Document for Part J. See Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems: Approved Document J


External insulation fixed to the existing walls

You need approval in all cases to carry out this work as this alters the thermal performance of the building.

Inserting cavity wall insulation (in existing cavity walls)

You do need approve to carry out these works, however, your approved installer should have type approval for the installation and they will submit the required paperwork to Building Control.