How to make an application for building regulation approval

Types of applications

  • full plans application
  • building notice application
  • retrospective regularisation applications (for unauthorised work)

There are two ways of making an application for new projects depending on the type of work in question, for example a building notice or a full plans submission.

Full plans applications

Where any of the following types of building work are to be undertaken, the submission must be in the form of a full plans application:

  • where the building use is either designated under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 or is subject to the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 and where the proposed work would adversely affect provisions for means of escape and/or access and facilities for the fire service
  • work which includes the erection of a building fronting on to a private street
  • a new building or extension or underpinning of a building over or within 3 metres of the centreline of a public sewer (or any drain/sewer shown on the sewage undertakers map of sewers)

In order to obtain formal approval before the work begins, you can submit a full plans application. Decisions can take up to five weeks but are usually given much sooner. Full details covering all aspects of your proposals should be submitted for approval by way of drawings/plans (see plans checklist for more information). Once you have made a full plans submission you may submit a commencement notice 48 hours before the work starts. In some cases we may need to consult the fire brigade to ensure that adequate fire precautions measures are provided.

When making a full plans application you should enclose the appropriate fee together with two copies of the drawings and if appropriate, structural calculations, giving full details of your proposals. Where the building use is designated under the fire precautions act 1971 or is subject to the fire precautions (Workplace) regulations 1997 an additional copy of plans showing fire precautions should be submitted.

We will acknowledge your application within five days, letting you know if for any reason it is incomplete and we will give you the name of the surveyor dealing with your project.

We will only reject your application if it shows major contraventions of the Building Regulations. Wherever possible we will approve it, if necessary with conditions where we need additional information or if minor changes are needed. If you or your agent disagree with our decision you have the right to appeal to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Building notice applications

Domestic alterations and extensions. You may submit a building notice application giving brief details of your proposal, with relevant drawings/plans (see plans checklist for more information). Your application, fee and any block plan must all be submitted at least 48 hours before the work begins. You may at the same time, submit a commencement notice.

To view the merits of each type see making a building regulations application (PDF, 56KB)

Site conditions and variations

With both types of application, particularly for building notices, there may be occasions where site conditions reveal unforeseen factors which may lead to additional expenditure. It is advisable to make allowance for this in setting a budget for the project. However, for straight forward construction works necessary to satisfy building regulations should already have been taken account of by the builder and should not generally be subject to additional cost.

Retrospective regularisation applications (for unauthorised work)

Where works that should have been the subject of a building regulations application, referred to above, have been carried out without an application being made these are called Unauthorised Works.

As enforcing authority for the building regulations the council has certain powers and responsibilities in relation to such works and may take enforcement action. However, it may be possible for you to make a retrospective application to cover these works. This is called an application for a regularisation certificate.

Data Protection

Persons submitting information for building regulations and allied purposes are advised that information you give us will be held on computer or manual record, which you have a right to see and check. The information is used by the council to fulfil its statutory obligations, may occasionally be used to obtain feedback on the building control service, and in connection with the prevention and detection of crime and fraud. The council also retain and archive a copy of the information submitted. Such archives are made available for inspection by persons with bona fide reasons, such as building owners and prospective purchasers. All legal obligations regarding copyright and so forth are observed.

Subject to the above exceptions, information is not passed to other persons or organisations. The council's obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 are explained in the leaflet "How to see your records - Your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998" available from this office and from Libraries.

Frequently asked questions relating to unauthorised works

What are the potential problems from having carried out unauthorised works?

Mortgage lenders will not lend money secured against a house with unauthorised works, so you may not be able to sell your house, or remortgage. Before lending money a lender will check our records to see if there are any unauthorised works at the property. Also, the Council, as enforcing authority for the Building Regulations, may take action through the courts.

What should I do to resolve the situation?

You should make an Application for a Regularisation Certificate. This is then a legitimate application for the works, and, when any problems have been rectified, you will get a certificate to confirm that the works are legal.

Is there a fee for making the application?

There is a fee, which is related to the amount of time we need to spend dealing with your application. This is usually slightly more than the fee would have been had the application been made at the correct time, but you will be given a fee specific to your works when the application is made.

What information will I need to submit?

The application will need to be accompanied by plans and details describing the unauthorised works and any additional works necessary to secure compliance with the regulations. Find more detailed information in our guide to Regularisation Application forms 2016 (PDF, 120KB)

Will I need professional help to make the application?

Depending on the works carried out, you may need to employ an architect or surveyor to investigate the works, to complete any drawings and specification of the works, and to assist with any remedial works required.

What works will I need to carry out?

This will depend on how well the original works were done, but will only be the amount needed to make the works comply with the Building Regulations applicable at the time the work was carried out.

Will I have to take down or expose the works which have been completed?

You, or your agent, will need to specify how the works have been done and you may need to expose some areas to do this. You will also need to expose the works sufficiently for us to inspect. This will usually only involve exposing sample areas rather than whole elements. If the works are all visible, then you may not need to expose anything. You should not need to take anything down unless it has been built incorrectly or it prevents other items from being corrected or inspected.

Will the council need to inspect the work?

When you have made your application, the council will check the details and inspect the works, including any remedial works required.

Am I likely to be prosecuted for carrying out the original works without an application?

If a Regularisation Application is made, and any remedial works are carried out correctly, it is highly unlikely that any formal action will be necessary. However, as enforcing authority, the Council will always retain the right of legal action as a last resort.