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Building regulations applications FAQs

Building regulations applications FAQs

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When do I make the application?

You must make the application before you start work. With a Building Notice you'll usually be able to start work around 48 hours after submission, but a Full Plans Notice will take longer. In this case you'll receive a decision within five weeks, or, if an extension is agreed with you, two months after you've submitted the Full Plans Notice.

What is a Building Notice?

A Building Notice is generally suitable for small alterations and projects - for example an additional window or removing an internal wall. It’s a faster process meaning you can start 48 hours after deposit (or earlier) it can’t be used if you are going to be building over or close to a public sewer or altering a commercial building. N.B. you need to be aware that a Building Notice puts more responsibility for knowing and complying with the building regulations on the person carrying out the work and the property owner.

What is a Full Plans application?

It comprises drawings, design details, specifications and calculations and it is usually submitted by the architect or plan drawing agent who is designing your project. Once received, the council will assess your application and consult with the water and fire services if necessary. Once any queries are resolved, the building control team will issue a Decision Notice within five weeks from the date of deposit (or two months if you’ve agreed to an extension). A Conditional Approval may be issued which allows you to provide further information once it's available.

Should I speak to my local authority building control team before making a building regs application?

It isn’t compulsory but it can be helpful. If you provide an address and outline the project they can discuss what they’d expect in terms of local ground conditions, local issues and your type of property. They have a great deal of local knowledge and can talk you through issues you may not have thought about. This is usually a free service.

Who makes the building regulations application?

The process is easy and can be done by you, however your agent, architectural consultant or builder can make the application on your behalf.

How can I find my council’s contact details to make a building regulations application?

You can use the 'Find my local authority search' above which will give you the contact details for your local authority’s building control department.

How do I make the application?

You can do that online, by looking at your council’s website to find the building control section, then searching for 'building regulations application' or 'building control application.' You’ll probably be given options on how to apply – online, by post or over the phone.

What does the application consist of?

It might be split into parts; first to register and check the application and secondly, to cover all the inspections that are made as work progresses.

How much does a building regulations application cost?

That will depend on the type, size, value and/or complexity of your project. Speak to your council’s building control team if it isn’t mentioned on their website and be aware that you may have to pay in full along with your application.

Does the fee differ from council to council?

Each local authority sets its own fees. Because they are a public service they can’t make a profit from this and will only charge enough to cover costs.

How long does it take to process the application?

You can normally start work as soon as the Building Notice has been approved (usually this doesn’t take more than 48 hours). If a Full Plans application has been submitted it can take up to five weeks to receive the council’s decision. They may ask to extend this period but will need your consent to do so.

How long are building regulations approvals valid for?

They lapse three years after the date the application was submitted to the council, if the work hasn’t started. However, once work has commenced the application is valid indefinitely.

What happens if my application is rejected?

You or your agent will be asked to submit more information or make alterations to the plans. Once these have been received and okayed your application will be approved. You won’t need to reapply unless the plans change significantly.

What happens if I didn’t make an application?

If you or a previous owner carried out work without obtaining permission, you may be able to apply to have this approved retrospectively. This is called a Regularisation. This is only possible for work carried out on or after the 11 November 1985. You’ll be asked for plans and calculations to show what was done and the work will be inspected. Please be aware that you may be asked to open up various areas of the building so the surveyor can check things that have been covered up like beams, pipes and insulation. If everything appears to meet the regulations that were in place at the time the work was carried out, you’ll receive a Regularisation Certificate.

Starting work

Once you have received your Decision Notice or registered your Building Notice, you or your builder must notify the building control team when you start work. They will inform you what stages of the work need to be inspected. (The number of site visits varies depending on the complexity of the project.) You must then request a visit at those stages and when the work is complete. You can do this by contacting the building control team or using the LABC inspection app available on Google Play and the Apple store if your council is on it. If there are no identified contraventions and the work is considered satisfactory, you will receive a Completion Certificate which is included in the price of your application.