Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to your building control questions.

1. Building Control

1.1 What Is Building Control?

It’s a legal requirement for building work to meet the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations (2010) and building control services, also known as building control bodies, check that work complies with the Building Regulations and associated legislation. Work that needs to be checked by building control includes Extensions, conversions (loft, garage) internal alterations basements new buildings.

1.2 What Is the Difference Between Planning Permission and Building Control?

Planning Permission relates mainly to the correct use of land, the aesthetic appearance of the proposed building, and the effect that the development will have on the general environment and neighbouring properties. Planning also deals with listed buildings and conservation areas. If you have a planning enquiry, you will need to contact your local council and ask for their planning department.

Building Regulations, on the other hand, are concerned with the way in which the building is constructed, its structural stability means of escape and fire precautions, weather resistance, energy conservation, sound insulation, access, and facilities for people with disabilities.

1.3 When Is Building Regulation Approval Required?

  • When a new building is constructed
  • If you build an extension or form a room in the roof space e.g. loft conversion
  • When you carry out structural alterations to an existing building e.g. form a through lounge or remove chimney breast(s)
  • If you change the use of an existing building e.g. converted a house into flats
  • For provision, extension, or alteration of drainage facilities e.g. a new bathroom or toilet under the stairs
  • When recovering a roof structure
  • Electrical work
  • Window replacements

1.4 What Works DO Require Building Regulations?

It is always important to remember that if you are at all unsure about whether or not your project needs Building Control approval then it is best to contact us early – we are here to help.

The regulations apply to any “building work” and therefore you need to make an application before proceeding. In general terms, the definition of building works covers:

  • Erection of a building/new dwelling
  • Extension/alterations to domestic buildings
  • Loft conversions
  • Garage conversions
  • Installation and fitting of new waste appliances
  • Installation and fitting of new drainage
  • Installation and fitting of heating appliances (See *note below)
  • Installation of electrical works etc. (See *note below)
  • Installation of new/replacement doors and windows (See *note below)
  • Replacing/repairing more than 25% of roof covering
  • Alterations to the structure of a building, (which can include chimney breast removal – please contact BC for further advice before undertaking this work)
  • Work affecting means of escape in case of fire (including in some instances replacement windows in residential buildings)
  • Changing the use of a building

Building work does not cover repair items, but certain operations, which you may consider a repair, are not considered exempt under the regulations and therefore will require an application. e.g. underpinning, replacing a defective roof covering with a heavier or lighter tile, or slate.

*NOTE: Some of the above works do not require a building regulation application ONLY IF the works are being carried out or installed by a member of a Competent Persons Scheme. See below “What works DON’T require Building Regulations.”

Competent Persons Schemes:
Notifications to building control are not necessary if the person carrying out the work is a member of one of the government approved competent persons schemes for electrical wiring and registers the work with that scheme provider. Very few contractors are authorised to undertake the certification of another electrician’s work.

1.5 What Works DO NOT Require Building Regulations?

Some “building work” is classed as “exempt” under the Building Regulations, these include certain ground floor attached and detached buildings.

Also, some installation work doesn’t require a Building Regulation Application, however, THIS ONLY APPLIES when the installer of the works is registered with the related Self Certification Scheme, for example:

  • Electrical works/installations – NICEIC / NAPIT / ELECSA / BSI / BESCA / OFTEC / Certsure
  • Gas installations – GAS SAFE
  • Gas, Wood and Oil Burning Stoves – HETAS / OFTEC / BESCA / APHC / Benchmark / Certsure / NAPIT
  • Heating and Hot Water Systems – APHC / BESCA / HETAS / Benchmark / Certsure  / NAPIT
  • Replacement Window and Doors – FENSA / CERTASS / BM TRADA / BSI / NETWORK VEKA
  • Replacement of Roof covering / Repairing of more than 25% of roof covering – NFRC – Competent Roofer

Exempt attached buildings:

  • An extension at ground floor level with a floor area not exceeding 30sq metres being:
    • covered yard or covered way
    • carport open on at least two sides
  • conservatory where the walls and roof are substantially transparent (i.e.glazed) and where separation is maintained between it and the rest of the living accommodation
  • porch provided that it does not contain a WC and separation is maintained between it and the rest of the living accommodation
  • veranda or loggia

Exempt detached buildings:

  • Garages, sheds and outbuildings, provided they are single storey and
    • the building does not contain sleeping accommodation
    • the building has a floor area not exceeding 30sq metres
    • no part of the building is less than 1 metre from any boundary OR the building is constructed substantially of non-combustible material
    • or the building has a floor area not exceeding 15sq metres and contains no sleeping accommodation

Provided that it is not used for retailing or exhibiting

Agricultural Buildings:
Including those used for horticultural, fruit growing, the growing of plants for seed and fish farming, but not those used for packing or exhibition, provided that:

  • no part of the building is used as a dwelling
  • no part of the building is less than one and a half times its height from any part of a building that contains sleeping accommodation
  • the building is provided with a fire exit not more than 30 metres from any point within the building

Temporary Buildings:
If it is intended to remain where erected for less than 28 days

Should you have any doubts, or even to double-check your own conclusions, please contact us to check, it may save you considerable problems in the future. Also, note that some of the exempt works mentioned above may require planning permission.

1.6 Can You recommend a Builder, Architect, Building Surveyor or Structural Engineer?

We don’t keep a list of recommended builders, architects, surveyors or structural engineers. If in doubt, use an audited competent builder like those found through the Federation of Master Builders.

Websites such as Checkatrade, MyBuilder, and Rated People all have their own vetting process, but be wary of manipulated ratings. Check out the vetting process and look into the company separately before going ahead with them.

1.7 Can I Draw My Own Plans?

Yes, you can draw your own plans if you know about the current building regulations and you are a good draftsman. Otherwise, it is advisable to get an Architect or Chartered Building Surveyor to draw them for you. Chartered Structural Engineers can produce calculations for you.


2. Neighbours

2.1 Do I Need to Consult My Neighbours About My Proposed Building Work?

There are no requirements in the Building Regulations to consult your neighbours, but it would be sensible to do so. In any event, you should be careful that your proposed building work does not interfere with their property as this could lead to bad feeling and possible civil action for the modification or removal of the work.

For example, your work may comply with the Building Regulations but could result in the obstructions or malfunctioning of your neighbour’s flue. You should check your boundary lines and satisfy yourself that there are no deeds or covenants, which may prevent you from carrying out certain types of building work close to or directly adjoining your neighbour’s property.

You should note that if your project is subject to the Party Wall Act 1996 etc. you must give notice to the adjoining owners. Consultation and objection procedures may also come into play if other legislation is involved – particularly if your proposal requires approval under the Town and Country Planning legislation.

For more information on the Party Wall Act, view the information available on the Communities and Local Government website at

2.2 Do My Neighbours Have the Right to Object to What Is Proposed in My Building Regulation Application?

There is no requirement in the Building Regulations to consult neighbours, although it would be courteous for you to do so.

If you are undertaking work to which the provisions of the Party Wall Act 1996 will apply, you must notify neighbours in accordance with the Act.

Guidance and more information can view information on the Planning Portal.

2.3 The Party Wall Act – What Is It?

The Party Wall Act 1996 may apply to the work that you are carrying out. If so, this will involve giving notice of at least 28 days to your neighbour.

The Act covers:

  • work carried out directly to an existing party wall
  • new building at or astride the boundary line between properties
  • excavation within three or six metres of the neighbouring building depending on the depth of the hole or foundations

Working on the boundary

If you intend to build-up to the boundary of your property with an extension there are some significant issues to be aware of:

  • Do you know where the boundary is?
  • Check your deeds and speak to your neighbours and get agreement as to where the boundary is before you plan your extension. (The Council does not keep records that show precise ownership boundaries)
  • Check with your neighbour if they know whether the foundations of any wall or structure close to the boundary encroach on your property. This may mean a gap will need to be kept or a special foundation designed. If you are unsure then excavate a trial hole down to the level of the foundations, note the details and pass this information to your surveyor or architect. Be careful not to damage any foundation or underground equipment if you do this
  • Check if there are any services that are under where the extension is to go. Again, this may impose restrictions or require a special foundation design; particularly if there is a public sewer to be built over. Details of public sewers and the specifications of work required by the sewer owners are available from either Thames Water  or Anglian Water, depending on your location

The work proposed, either as an extension or work to a party wall may require notification to the adjoining owner under The Party Wall Act 1996.

Further information on THE PARTY WALL ACT 1996

3. Fees

3.1 Can you tell me what the fees are?
Our quotes are project specific. Please phone us for your quote on 03452 185214 or complete our Request a Quote form

3.2 Can You Tell Me About Building Regulations Payments and the Fees?
Full Plans:
Fees vary according to the type of work undertaken and are subject to VAT.

4. Applying

4.1 Applying

If you are planning on having building work done to your property it is best to check with us at an early stage whether or not you need Building Control approval – please contact us on 03452 185214 or email  – we are here to help and are happy to advise you.

Go to Apply for Building Control

A Completion Certificate will be issued after a satisfactory final inspection of the completed works.

4.2 How Far in Advance of Work Starting Should I Submit My Application?

You should submit your application at least 7 working days before works commence on site, to enable the Initial Notice to be served on the local authority. You will need to submit as much information as possible, ie drawings, specifications, and calculations, to allow a preliminary check to be carried out.

4.3 When Can My Builder Start Work?

Your builder can start work once we have informed you that your Initial Notice has been accepted by the Local Authority.

It is important you DO NOT start work until you receive this as failure to do so may mean your application reverts back to the Local Authority incurring additional fees. You must tell us when you want to start and ensure that we are contacted to carry out our inspections at the various stages. Your builder will be able to advise you on the correct process but if at any time you are unsure, please contact us; we are here to help.

5. Inspections

5.1 When do Site Inspections occur?

Site Inspections are generally carried out at the following stages, depending on the works being undertaken:

  • Commencement of work and foundation excavations prior to concreting
  • Damp Proof Course / Damp Proof Membrane / Floor Preparations
  • Below-ground drainage laid and bedded, and soakaway dug out
  • Pre-plaster check – first-floor timbers, structural beams and lintels, roof timbers and thermal insulation positioned
  • Structural steelwork installed
  • Completion inspection when all controllable work is complete

5.2 How Do I Book/Arrange an Inspection?

You can arrange an inspection by:

  • Phone – via our Operations Team on 03452 185214. Please provide as much notice as possible.
  • Email – To book an inspection, send the request to

With all inspection requests, we require the following information:

  • The address of the property
  • What is to be inspected
  • Your name and contact details

5.3 How Long Do I Have to Complete the Works Once Work Has Started on Site?

Once you have received acknowledgement that your Initial Notice has been accepted by Local Authority, you have a time limit of three years for works to start on site. If you have not started work within three years, a new application may be required to be submitted.

Once work has commenced, you have unlimited time to complete the work. However, if an inspection hasn’t been carried out within 3 years there may be an additional fee – please enquire on 03452 185214.

It is strongly recommended that you complete the works, to save unnecessary delays if the property is sold at a later date.


6. Final Certificates

6.1 Will I Receive a Final Certificate the Work Has Been Finished?

When your work is finished, you should contact our Operations Team on 03452 185214 to arrange a final inspection.

Provided the work complies with the Building Regulations a final certificate will be issued. The final certificate is an important document and should be kept with the house deeds etc. You will probably be required to provide the final certificate on the sale or a future sale of the property.

6.2 How Can I Get a Copy of the Final Certificate?

We can provide copies of final certificates.

To request a copy please contact our Operations Team:

All copy documentation requests must be made in writing or by email and a cheque received or online payment made.

Administration and copying charges are as below:

  • £42.00 (incl VAT) for a copy of a final certificate (payable for each separate property)

7. Other

7.1 How Do I Complain If I Am Not Happy with the Service I Have Received from Build Insight?

If you are not happy with any part of our service, or have any sort of complaint to make, please contact us on 03452 185214.

7.2 What If Work Has Been Carried out WITHOUT Building Regulations?

If controllable building work has been undertaken without building control involvement you must contact the local authority to help you to regularise the situation.  Legislation prevents Build Insight Ltd from being involved with this.

Do you have a question about Building Regulations?

Speak to one of our Team about your project