1. Do I need approval to build an extension to my house?
  2. Do I need approval to install replacement windows in my house?
  3. Do I need approval for a loft conversion?
  4. Do I need approval to carry out repairs to my house?
  5. Do I need approval to make internal alterations within my house?
  6. Do I need approval to install sanitary fittings and appliances within my house?
  7. Do I need approval to install or replace electric wiring?
  8. Do I need approval to insert cavity wall insulation? rule and spirit level
  9. Do my neighbours have the right to object to what is proposed in my Building Regulations application?
  10. Do I have to pay anything for the service?
  11. Is there any difference in cost between a Full Plans application and a Building Notice?
  12. What will the local authority do?
  13. What can I do if my plans are rejected?
  14. What happens if I do work without approval?
  15. What happens if I disagree with the notice?
  16. Are there penalties for contravening Building Regulations?
  17. Do I need approval to carry out electrical works?
  18. I want to construct a Granny Annex.
  19. Do I need to construct it as a separate dwelling?

1. Do I need approval to build an extension to my house?

Yes, but a porch or conservatory built at ground level and under 30m2 in floor area is exempt. For more guidance see:

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2. Do I need approval to install replacement windows in my house?

Yes, From April 2002, all replacement glazing will come within the scope of the Building Regulations. From then on, anyone who installs replacement windows or doors will have to comply with strict thermal performance standards.

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One of the main reasons for the change is the need to reduce energy loss. The Building Regulations have controlled glazing in new buildings for many years but they represent only a very small percentage of our total building stock. It is also essential to improve the performance of the much larger numbers of existing buildings if we are to meet increasingly stringent national and global energy saving targets. When the time comes to sell your property, your purchaser’s surveyors will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed after April 2002 complies with the new Building Regulations.

3. Do I need approval for a loft conversion?

Yes, even if for an 'occasional use'.

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4. Do I need approval to carry out repairs to my house?

Generally no, if the repairs are of a minor nature and you are replacing like for like. This includes, repointing, and replacing a small area of brickwork. Yes, if the repair consists of removing a major part of a wall and rebuilding it.

In the case of re-roofing, if the new tiling or roofing material is heavier, or lighter, than the existing materials then an approval under Building regulations is required. Major renovation work can also trigger an application where it involves the renovation of a thermal element (i.e roof, external walls or floors) where more than 25% of the element is affected. (E.g. this can affect a variety of works such as re-roofing, re-rendering, re-plastering re-flooring etc).

Building Regulations now require that where feasible the insulation within these elements is upgraded as part of the renovation works if the existing provisions are insufficient. The requirements can be fairly complex and thus we recommend contacting us to discuss your particular project.

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5. Do I need approval to make internal alterations within my house?

Yes, if the alterations are of a structural nature such as the removal or part removal of a load-bearing construction - for example, a wall, partition, joist, beam or chimney breast. You also need approval if, in altering a house, work is necessary to maintain the means of escape in case of fire.

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6. Do I need approval to install sanitary fittings and appliances within my house?

  1. to install hot water storage?
  2. yes, if the system is unvented (under direct mains pressure).

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7. Do I need approval to install or replace electric wiring?

Yes. Please see the section below on electrical works- section 17.

8. Do I need approval to insert cavity wall insulation?

Yes.

9. Do my neighbours have the right to object to what is proposed in my Building Regulations application?

No. While there is no requirement in the Building Regulations for you to consult your neighbours, it may be courteous to do so. Objections may be raised under other legislation, particularly if your proposal is subject to approval under the Town and Country Planning Acts.

10. Do I have to pay anything for the service?

Yes. A charge is payable to the local authority unless the work is exempt.

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11. Is there any difference in cost between a Full Plans application and a Building Notice?

No. With one or two exceptions - a Full Plans application involves a two stage payment, one when you submit your plans (Plan Charge) and one following first inspection on site (Inspection Charge). If a Building Notice is given the 'building notice charge' is payable when the building notice is deposited with the Council and is the sum of the plan charge and inspection charge.

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12. What will the local authority do?

If you use the Full Plans procedure, the local authority will check your plans and consult appropriate authorities (such as fire and water companies). If your plans comply, you will receive a notice that they have been passed. If the local authority is not satisfied, you may be asked to make amendments or provide more details. Alternatively, a conditional approval may be issued. If your plans are rejected, the reasons will be stated in the notice.
If you use the Building Notice procedure, as with Full Plans applications, the work will normally be inspected as it proceeds; but you will not receive any notice indicating whether your proposal has been passed or rejected. If, before commencement or while work is in progress, the local authority requires further information such as structural design calculations of plans, you must supply the details requested.

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13. What can I do if my plans are rejected?

You can resubmit them with amendments to make them comply with Building Regulations. Alternatively, if you think the decision to reject is not justified, you can refer the matter to the Secretary of State for The Environment, Transport, and the Regions for determination. But note that you must apply for a determination before the work, which is in dispute, has commenced.
Where there is a mandatory requirement you may ask the local authority to relax it if you think that is justified. If they refuse, you may appeal to the Secretary of State within one month of their refusal.

A charge is payable for determinations but not for appeals. The charge is half the Plan Charge, subject to a minimum of £50 and a maximum of £500.

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14. What happens if I do work without approval?

The local authority has to see that building work complies with the Regulations. If the work does not comply, you may be asked to alter or remove it. If you fail to do this, the local authority may serve a notice requiring you to do so.

If you have already completed work without approval it is possible to gain retrospective approval by making a Regularisation Application. in order to gain approval you will need to provide all the necessary information and where requested destructive investigations may be needed to enable the surveyor to assess whether the building complies.

Download the Regularisation Application Form (pdf 51kb).

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15. What happens if I disagree with the notice?

Normally the notice will give you 28 days to rectify the work. You can seek advice from a suitably qualified person and if you tell the local authority you intend to do this, the 28 day period is extended to 70 days. If the report you get from this person causes the local authority to withdraw the notice, the local authority may pay the expenses which you have incurred as a result of having been served with the notice. The local authority cannot serve a notice on you if the work which you have carried out is shown on the plans which the local authority approved or failed to reject within five weeks, or two months if you agree, from deposit of the plans.

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16. Are there penalties for contravening Building Regulations?

Yes. If you contravene the Regulations by building without notifying the local authority or by carrying out work which does not comply, the local authority can commence proceedings which may lead to a fine. If you are convicted, you are liable to a penalty not exceeding £5,000 plus £50 for each day on which each individual contravention continues after you have been convicted.

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17. Do I need approval to carry out electrical works?

Yes. If you are carrying out works to one of the following property/land types:

  • Dwelling
  • Common parts of a building serving one or more dwellings
      (Excluding power supply to lifts)
  • Buildings that receive electricity from a source located within or shared from a dwelling
  • A garden or in land associated with a building where the electricity is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling and the works consist of one of the following:
  • All work that involves adding a new circuit to a dwelling
  • Extra low voltage lighting installations, other than pre-assembled, CE-marked lighting sets
  • Electric floor or ceiling heating systems
  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) power supply systems
  • Small scale generators such as MicroCHP (combined heat and power) units
  • Garden lighting or power installations
  • Extension to the electrical system (separate circuit) to small detached buildings (sheds etc)

Plus the following work when carried out in a kitchen or special location:

  • Adding lighting points (light fittings and switches) to an existing circuit in a special location
  • Adding socket-outlets and fused spurs to an existing ring or radial circuit
  • Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding (earth bonding)

Special locations and installations include:

Locations containing a bath tub or shower basin, swimming pools or paddling pools, hot air saunas.

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18. I want to construct a Granny Annex. Do I need to construct it as a separate dwelling?

If the proposed annex is attached to the main dwelling and connected via an internal interconnecting door it will be treated as part of the main dwelling. If on the other hand it is self contained and not connected via an internal door it will be treated as a separate dwelling. This will have implications for fire separation and sound proofing between the dwellings.

Please contact us to discuss your particular project to see how the regulations will affect you.

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19. I want to use my house for guest house accommodation

A dwelling with no more than 3 rooms used for commercial guest house/B and B accommodation would still considered a dwelling on the basis that the commercial use would be a very low scale. No application would be required.

If on the other and a larger operation with more than 3 rooms is proposed this would constitute a material change of use and require approval. Substantial up-grade works may be required to satisfy the fire safety and acoustic separation requirements under the Building Regulations.

If you are intending to use your domestic property for commercial guest house/B and B type accommodation, it is recommended that you speak to one of our Surveyors for advice.

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