Building regulations explained


Updates to building regulations requirements

New requirements to building regulations came into force on 15 June 2022.

These changes may affect your project. For more information see:

Changes to building regulations requirements

The building regulations lay down health and safety standards for the construction of all types of building work, including:

  • new build
  • extensions
  • internal alterations
  • underpinning
  • cavity wall insulation
  • change of use

Although Local Authority Building Control is the largest building control organisation in the country, we now operate in a healthy, competitive, open market with Approved Inspectors in the private sector.

We do all we can to maintain the quality and efficiency of our service and to ensure customer care.

If, for whatever reason, the approved inspectors work is not completed, it reverts back to the Local Authority Building Control to make sure the necessary standards are achieved to maintain health and safety in the borough.

When a building regulation application is required

You will need to apply for building regulation approval if work includes:

  • The erection or extension of a building
  • The installation of a new wc or bathroom that involves new waste pipes or underground drainage
  • The installation of a gas or solid fuel appliance (unless the work is supervised by an approved installer)
  • The conversion of a house to flats or vice-versa
  • General internal structural alterations e.g. the removal of loadbearing walls
  • Internal alterations affecting means of escape in case of fire
  • Conversion of loft space in dwellings (approval may also be required for loft storage)
  • Replacement glazing in doors and / or windows in dwellings (unless supervised by competent body)
  • Fitting replacement roof coverings that are heavier / lighter in weight than the existing covering or where more than 25% of the roof covering is being replaced
  • Changing the use of certain buildings
  • Installation / testing of electrical installations in dwellings (unless supervised by Competent Body)
  • Underpinning of foundations
  • Renovation works where more that 25% of any thermal element is being effecte
  • Micro renewables

Approval to build a porch or conservatory

Most porches and conservatories are exempt from Building Regulation approval if they meet the following basic criteria:

  • Separated from the dwelling by walls, doors and / or windows
  • Built at ground level
  • Under 30m² in floor area
  • Glazing complies with the safety glazing requirements of the Building Regulations
  • The existing heating system is not extended into the conservatory

Please note:

  • A conservatory requires a glazed or translucent roof to satisfy this exemption.
  • You may need Building regulation approval for any electrical installations within these exempt structures if Part P (electrical installations in domestic buildings) is applicable.

It is advisable to ensure that a conservatory is not constructed, so that it restricts ladder access to windows serving a room in the roof space or a loft conversion, particularly if that window is needed as an emergency means of escape in the case of fire.


Approval to build a detached garage

Most standard size detached garages are exempt from Building Regulation approval providing they meet the following criteria: 

  • a single storey garage built at ground level
  • under 30m² in floor area and with no sleeping accommodation
  • and either:
    • it is built substantially of non-combustible material;
    • or when built it has a clear space of 1 metre from the boundary of the property.

Approved documents

Building regulations are constantly being updated.

There are a number of approved documents provided by the government which give guidance on methods of showing compliance.

See GOV.UK: Approved documents.