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FAQs about building control

Planning permission relates to the siting, design, size, height and bulk of a development and its impact on neighbouring properties and the surrounding area.

Applications for planning permission are assessed against national and local planning policies.

For more information about Waverley Planning, view their webpage

Building regulations relate to the actual construction of the work. They are there to make sure, by inspection and approval, that work is safe, healthy, minimises heat loss and takes account of disabled access.

Building regulations apply to most new buildings and certain alterations. They can also apply when the use of a building is changed. In general, most building work needs formal approval.

As well as building regulations you may also need planning permission so make sure you check with your local planning department first.

Types of work that need approval
  • erection of a new building
  • re-erection of an existing building
  • extension of a building
  • material alteration or change of use of a building
  • installation, alteration or extension of a controlled service or fitting to a building - for example a new boiler or new external window.
Examples
  • home extensions such as for a kitchen, bedroom, lounge or loft conversions
  • internal structural alterations, such as the removal of a load-bearing wall or partition
  • installation of baths, showers, WCs which involve new drainage or waste plumbing
  • installation of new heating appliances
  • new chimneys or flues
  • underpinning of foundations
  • alterations that affect the building's means of escape or fire precautions
  • altered openings for new windows in roofs or walls
  • repairing or replacing more than 25% of the surface area of a roof
  • installation of cavity wall insulation
  • erection of new buildings that are not exempt from building regulations
  • access improvements for disabled people
  • replacement windows and doors
  • electric installations such as installing a new consumer unit or a new electric shower unit. 

There are are a number of sources of information you can get practical, clear advice and guidance. 

We recommend using the LABC Front Door website, which is specifically for homeowners. The site is easy to use and informative - just search based on your project type.  They also contain useful advice about employing construction professionals and tradespeople and blogs about common projects.

Waverley runs webinars aimed at homeowners, offering advice on planning, building control as well as tips from Trading Standards. These are advertised on the website and are run regularly. 

Read more on our website page here or watch this short video from LABC here

Full Plans Application

This type of application is usually submitted by an agent or architect. We would normally recommend this route for extensions and conversions and it must be used for any commercial building or a building which has common areas - such as a block of flats or that is subject to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

What you need to submit with your application

  • existing and proposed floor plans and elevations
  • a location plan at a scale of no less than 1:1250. You can buy a location plan from RequestaPlan.
  • construction specifications/notes
  • structural calculations

Why use this type of application?

A Full Plans application means contractors can quote for your project more accurately and your builder will be working on site with a set of approved plans. (Otherwise they are solely reliant on their knowledge of the building regulations.) 

What happens after submission?

  • One of our building control surveyors will carry out a detailed check of your application and any attachments and request any additional information if it is needed. (We aim to carry out our plan check within 10 working days.)
  • Once compliance has been achieved we issue an approval notice and you can start work. (If you chose to start work before this point, it will be at your own risk.)  The approval remains valid for three years from the date your application and plan fee were deposited with us.
  • Minor variations in construction can be agreed as work progresses, however major changes may require amended plans and further details to be submitted.
  • Once work starts you will need to contact us to make regular site inspections. Our Building Control service webpage outlines our inspections service.

It's useful to ask or enquire about the following when looking for a builder for your project:

  • How long have they been in business? (Do they have an established track record and public liability insurance?)
  • Have they done similar jobs to yours? (Ask for their past customers details so you can get feedback on the work)
  • Do they operate from a fixed address? (Is they don't have a registered address, this should raise your awareness over their legitimacy)
  • Can they give you trade references? (These help prove the financial stability and management skills of the builder)
  • Are they VAT registered?
  • Can they provide written estimates and quotes? (We would recommend you get at least three quotes before you decide which builder to use.)
  • How many jobs are you running now?
  • Schedule of payments - make sure you agree on the schedule of payments.

The Citizens Advice website has lots of useful information about employing builders and contracts.

Building Control has no involvement in the Party Wall Act.

If you are proposing to start work covered under the Party Wall Act, as the property owner, you must give adjoining owners notice of your plans.  They can then agree or disagree with your proposal and if they disagree the Act provides a way to resolve disputes.

The Party Wall Act is separate from planning permission or building regulations.  You can read more about the Party Wall Act or can contact a Party Wall Surveyor by visiting the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors website.

This may be included as part of a site investigation for planning permission purposes. It can include intrusive work such as sampling, trail pits and boreholes.

Surveys are carried out by geotechnical engineers/engineering geologists.  Visit their website for a list of members.

Competent Person Schemes were introduced by the Government to allow individuals and enterprises to self-certify their work complies with the building regulations without having to submit a building notice and incur a charge.

An installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme should notify the local authority building control team of the work and issue you with a certificate of compliance under the building regulations either directly or through their scheme operator.

If you don't receive your certificate

If you don't receive your certificate within 30 days of completion, contact the Competent Person Scheme operator that your installer is registered with and they may be able to help you resolve the matter.

If you don't use a registered installer

If you don't use an installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme you will need to submit a building notice and pay a fee so that we can arrange inspection of the work for you.

To find a registered installer

To find an installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme in your area or check that your chosen installer is with a scheme visit www.competentperson.co.uk and enter your postcode or the name of the installer in the relevant search box.

Copy certificates

If you need to find a copy certificate for Competent Person Scheme work carried out to your property you will need to know the name of the scheme they belong to, such as FENSA, NICEIC, when and who carried out the work. You should then contact their Competent Person Scheme governing body and request a copy certificate. 

Types of work covered by Competent Person Schemes

  • Any electrical installation work in dwellings
  • Electrical installation work only in association with other work (e.g. kitchen installations, boiler installations)
  • Replacement windows, doors, roof windows, or roof lights in dwellings
  • Installation of plumbing and water supply systems and bathrooms and sanitary ware
  • Replacement of roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs (not including solar panels)
  • Installation of cavity wall insulation
  • Installation of solid wall insulation
  • Installation of fixed air conditioning or mechanical ventilation systems
  • Installation of microgeneration or renewable technologies

The Government introduced electrical safety rules (Part P rules) into the building regulations for England and Wales in 2005. Part P says that anyone carrying out electrical work in a home must ensure their work is designed and installed to protect people from fire and electric shocks. Part P qualified electricians are able to carry out and self-certify this type of work so that a separate building regulations application doesn't have to be made.

For example if you are adding an extension to your property or a new bathroom, the electrical work within them will need to be carried out by a Part P certified electrician.

What type of work does Part P apply to?

  • additions or alterations to existing circuits in special locations*
  • replacement of a consumer unit
  • installation of a new circuit
  • rewires

Find out more about special locations and where Part P applies on the Registered Competent Persons Electrical website 

Legislation states that there is no time limit once work has started. However, we set our fees with the expectation that work will be carried out by a competent professional and completed within three years of your application being submitted.

If you stop work on your project for a period of more than three years, when you resume, we reserve the right to charge an admin fee. This fee will be our admin fee at the time you start work again. Our current fee is £150 inc VAT. 

Once work on site is complete or occupation takes place you must notify us within 5 days so that we can carry out a final inspection. If you don't contact us at this point, but approach us at a later date, we may be unable to issue your completion certificate.