I hear there are different types of building regulations application – what are they?
When undertaking a home renovation project, you may need to obtain permission from Building Control. There is a choice of three application routes: full plans, building notice, and a regularisation application for retrospective works.
These mean your plans are checked and approved before work starts, avoiding costly errors or corrective work on site caused by not being fully up to speed with the ever-changing regulations.
A building regulations application deposited under this procedure needs to include plans and other information showing all the construction details, preferably well in advance of work starting on site to allow time for checking, amendments and approval.
Your local authority will check your plans for compliance with the regulations and consult with any appropriate authorities.
If your plans comply and all queries have been resolved, your architect or agent will be sent an Approval Notice or Notice of Passing of Plans. Alternatively, a conditional approval may be issued. This will either specify modifications that must be made to the plans or will specify further plans, calculations or details which must be received by your surveyor before you reach that stage of the work on site.
If your plans are rejected the reasons will be stated in the notice and you can re-apply when you have the plans amended. A full plans approval notice is valid for three years from the date of deposit of the plans.
If the work is uncomplicated and you are happy that you or your builder has a reasonably good understanding of the building regulations, then you can use the building notice route. The advantage of the building notice procedure is that detailed drawings are not usually required although you may be asked for some details like structural calculations or layout plans. You may start work 48 hours after your notice has been received by the local authority.
Plans are not required with this process so it’s quicker and less detailed than the full plans application. It is designed to enable some types of building work to get under way quickly - although it is perhaps best suited to small or basic work as your builder won’t have an approved plan to price from or work to.
There are also specific exclusions in the regulations as to when building notices cannot be used in relation to domestic work. A building notice cannot be used:
- For work which will be built close to or over the top of rain water and foul drains shown on the 'map of sewers'
- Where a new building will front onto a private street
A 'building notice' is valid for three years from the date the notice was given to the local authority, after which it will automatically lapse if the building work has not started.
Retrospective regularisation applications
If the work has already recently started or possibly even been completed without proper consent, then a retrospective application can be made using the Regularisation route.
You can even use this if the work was carried out by a former owner. Any work can potentially be regularised as long as it was carried out after 11 November 1985.
The purpose of the process is to regularise the unauthorised work and obtain a certificate of regularisation. Depending on the circumstances, exposure, removal and/or rectification of works may be necessary to establish compliance with the building regulations.
It's best to contact your local authority building control team to discuss your individual circumstances before submitting a building control regularisation application.
Don’t forget that whichever route you choose, your local authority building control team will need to visit the site at various stages depending on your project, to make sure the work being carried out is safe and complies with all the regulations and standards. It’s the responsibility of you or your builder to request these inspections.