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Frequently Asked Questions

We have tried to answer the questions most frequently asked about the Building Regulations.
If you have any further queries that are not answered below, please do not hesitate to contact us.



What are Building Regulations?

The Building Regulations are concerned with the constructional details of buildings and set down minimum standards to safeguard the health and safety of persons in and around buildings; conserve fuel and power and provide facilities for disabled people. They are applied by all local authorities in England and Wales and therefore apply on a national basis. (Scotland has similar but separate Regulations)

How can I obtain Building Regulation approval for my building work?

You have the choice of adopting one of two alternative procedures under which the work can be carried out; Full Plans Building Notice If you have appointed an architect or other suitably qualified person to prepare plans the procedures should be known by them and they will act as your agent to apply on your behalf. This is recommended as the best course for peopled not experienced in building work.

Do my proposed works require Building Regulation approval?

There is a range of building work which is exempt from the provisions of Building Regulations. This includes buildings controlled under other legislation; buildings not frequented by people; greenhouses and agricultural buildings; temporary and ancillary buildings. For information on these exempt buildings you are advised to contact the Building Control Service. The main groups of exempt buildings are listed below.

What are the advantages of a full plans application?

What types of works are suitable for the building notice procedure?

Internal alterations involving the removal of one or two walls, installation of boilers or other heating appliances, insertion of windows, installation of bathrooms and other drainage, garages / carports (not exempt from building regulation), underpinning of foundations and insertion of thermal insulation in cavity wall.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the building notice procedure?

Works can commence 48 hours after the giving of a Building Notice. Detailed plans are not always required resulting in savings in time and cost. With this procedure you must be confident that the works will comply with the Building Regulations or you risk having to correct it after inspection. You may be asked to submit plans and calculations at a later stage

No approval notice will be issued A Building Notice may not be accepted for mortgage purposes. The Building Notice procedure can not be used where it is intended to carry out work in relation to a building subject to the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 or put to or intended to be put to a use designated for the purpose of the Fire Precautions Act 1971

What is FENSA (Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme)?

The alternative to making an application to the local authority is to opt for a company or individual registered with the FENSA scheme. This has been developed by the Glass and Glazing Federation in close consultation with the Government as a quality assurance scheme that will require installers to issue insurance backed guarantees. FENSA registered firms will issue a completion certificate to FENSA which will issue a copy to the house holders.

Where can I get a copy of the Building Regulations 2000 (as amended)?

A 'Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet' and the current building regulations can be viewed on the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and they may also be available for inspection in main libraries. You can also obtain copies from Her Majesty's Stationary Office.

How can I ensure that my proposals comply with the Building Regulations?

Each part of the Building Regulations is supported by Approved Documents that provide technical guidance on how to meet the regulations. There is no obligation to adopt any of the guidance in the Approved Documents and designers may wish to refer to other documents such as

To design in accordance with the Approved Documents tends to show compliance in the event of any dispute concerning works.

If the guidance in the Approved Document is not followed, it will be for the designer to demonstrate by other means that the Regulations have been satisfied.

Is there a charge for this service?

Yes. The level of the fee can be determined from our Building Control Charges or if you telephone us we can advise you of the correct fee.

Please note that the fee is for the lodging of the application and not for granting a decision.

Building Control may wish to have the cost of the works verified. if so, it is likely that reference would be made to the cost index provided by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This records what it normally costs to build different types of building in different areas.

Am I required to inform my neighbours when I make a building regulation application and do they have the right to object to the proposed works?

No. Building Control approval only relates to the Building Regulations. Where the proposed building work is likely to affect or involve a mutual part of a building or adjoining building, you may have other legal obligations.

It is advisable to inform any affected or interested parties. Your work could also be subject to other statutory requirements, such as Planning Permission, Fire Precautions, Water Regulations, Licensing and the Party Wall Act 1996.

How long is the application valid for?

A Building Regulation application is valid for three years from the date of deposit. If you have started the works within the three years, there is no time limit to finish.

When can I start work on my proposals?

If you have served a Building Notice you may begin work at any time, providing that you give Building Control Service two clear working days notice of commencement of works.

On the other hand if you have opted to deposit a full plans application you should wait for a notice of approval from the Local Authority. Once you have approval you may begin work providing again that you give the Building Control Services two working days notice of commencement of works.

If you opt for the Full Plans application route you will then have the protection of knowing that as long as you are building in accordance with the approved plans plans that the Council cannot take enforcement action against you for failing to comply with the Building Regulations.

You can also start work once the Full Plans application has been submitted and accepted. However, all works will be at your own risk until the application is approved and you may be asked to pull down, alter or remove any works that are subsequently found not to comply with the Regulations.

What happens if I depart from the approved plans?

If you submitted a Full Plans application the Council will continue to inspect while work is in progress but it may ask for amended plans to be submitted. Ultimately the works carried out on site must comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations.

Who makes the Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are made by the Secretary of State for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) under the powers contained in the Building Act 1984. The current edition is 'The Building Regulations 2000 (as amended)' and the majority of works are required to comply with them.

The Act also gives power to Maldon District Council to ensure that building work within the district complies with the requirements of the Building Regulations. From time to time the Building Regulations are amended by the ODPM and if you have doubts concerning your proposals you are advised to check with Maldon Building Control Service before proceeding.

What is the scope of the Building Regulations?

The Building Regulations are grouped under 14 'parts'. The 'parts' cover a range of individual aspects of building design and construction as follows;

What happens after I have submitted my Full Plans application to the Local Authority?

What can I do if my plans are rejected?

It is the aim of Building Control staff to work with you and your agent to ensure that plans of the proposed building work comply with the Building Regulations and can be given approval.

However, where there are defects or omissions shown on the plans a rejection notice may be issued.

When an application is rejected Building Control will issue a schedule of items indicating which parts of the proposals are in contravention of the Building Regulations. In order for an approval to be issued it will be necessary for the plans to be amended to comply with the Building Regulations.


What happens if I contravene the Building Regulations?

You are committing an offence if you start work that requires a Building Regulation application without submitting one.

You are also committing an offence if you occupy or use a new building without having obtained a certificate of completion or a temporary certificate of occupation.

It is also an offence to contravene the requirements of the Building Regulations.

The Local Authority can take enforcement action in each instance. There are penalties which impose a liability of maximum fine of £5,000 with an additional fine £50 per day if offence continues.

Will I get a completion certificate?

Yes! You should notify the Building Control Officer when the works are complete and arrange for a completion inspection to be undertaken. If everything is in order he/ she will issue a certificate of completion for the works.

If work has been carried out on my property and I do not have Building Regulation approval, what should I do?

In the first instance contact the Building Control department of your Local Authority to explain the work about which you are concerned. They can check their records to determine if the work described by you is or has had an application submitted.

If there is no record of an application having been submitted you may be able to submit a Regularisation application to gain retrospective approval. A charge is payable for this service.

Each Local Authority has a system for dealing with such enquiries all of which are designed to help satisfy the answers expected by the legal profession in these circumstances particularly in matters of property conveyance.

Local Authorities may have charges for this service and will advise accordingly.

Where can I get a copy of Building Regulation decision notices and completion certificates for my property and is there a charge for this service?
If you are the owner of the property and can supply us with the relevant application number(s) we will supply you with copies. Please note there is a charge of £10 per copy. If no application number is supplied a charge of £39 research fee will be required.

Building Control – frequently asked questions

Why are Building Regulations necessary?

The simple answer is that Building Regulations are necessary to ensure that an acceptable standard of health and safety is achieved for people in and around buildings. They also require adequate access and facilities for disabled persons as well as specifying measures to control energy consumption. However, it must be remembered that they are not a control of quality. You should make your own separate supervisory arrangements in this respect should you consider it necessary.

When will you need to apply?

The Regulations apply to any ‘building work’ and therefore you will need to make an application before proceeding. The definition of ‘building work’ is contained within the Regulations. However, in general terms it covers the erection and/or extension of any type of building (with certain exemptions), the installation of works and fittings such as new waste appliances, new drainage, windows and heating appliances, alterations to the structure of a building, or work affecting means of escape in case of fire.

‘Building work’ does not include repair items, but certain operations, which you may consider a repair, are not considered exempt under the Regulations and therefore will require an application. Examples of this are underpinning and replacing a defective roof covering with a heavier or lighter tile or slate. From 1st April 2002 replacement windows and doors have been required to comply with the Regulations and from 1st January 2005 domestic electrical installations also have to comply.

There are a number of “Competent Persons Schemes” in place which allow registered companies and tradespersons to self-certify their work, thus gaining exemption from the Building Regulations process. These apply to works of replacement glazing, heating installation and electrical installation. For information on these schemes please call the Building Control Partnership.

Finally, don’t forget that you might also require other approvals – planning permission, listed building consent, consent to discharge a septic tank, etc.

Should you have any doubts, or even to double-check your own conclusions, please contact us, it may save you problems in the future.

What do the Regulations cover?

The regulations cover the majority of the constructional elements and details of the building:

As you can see, even for the most straightforward of projects considerable detail is required.

Exempt buildings and structures

There is a range of building work which is exempt from the provisions of Building Regulations. This includes buildings controlled under other legislation; buildings not frequented by people; greenhouses and agricultural buildings; temporary and ancillary buildings. For information on these exempt buildings you are advised to contact the Building Control Service. The main groups of exempt buildings are listed below.

  1. A detached single storey building having an internal floor area which does not exceed 30m2, which contains no sleeping accommodation and is a building–

    (a) No point of which is less than one metre from the boundary of its curtilage:
    (b) Which is constructed substantially of non-combustible material.

  2. A detached building, having a floor area which does not exceed 15m2, which contains no sleeping accommodation.
  3. The extension of an existing building by the addition at ground level of –
  4. (a) a conservatory, porch, covered yard or covered way; or
    (b) a carport open on at least two sides; where the floor area of that extension does not exceed 30m2, provided that in the case of a conservatory or porch which is wholly or partly glazed, the glazing satisfies the requirements of Part N of Schedule 1.


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