Projects that need approval

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.