Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about building control:
Q1. Who needs to complete a Building Regulations application and when do they require it?
A1. Anyone intending to carry out work to which building regulations apply must lodge an application with their local Building Control office. Examples of such work that requires approval includes:
- Erecting a new building
- Extending an existing building
- Changing the use of a building (e.g. house to offices)
- Converting a roofspace or garage
- Carrying out structural alterations such as replacing existing walls, floors, roofs and stairs
- Making two rooms into one
- Removing a chimney breast
- Installing cavity wall insulation
- Drylining walls or lining walls/ceilings with sheeting or boarding
- Replacing a fire door
- Installing central heating and replacing/relining flues
- Installing new sanitary appliances (not replacement only)
Q2. I am considering the possibility of adding a conservatory to my property. Is it exempt from Building Regulations?
A2. Yes it will be exempt from having to make an application provided your conservatory meets the following requirements:
- It has an internal floor area less than 30mē
- 50% of the external wall is glazing
- 75% of the roof is made of translucent material
- It may be accessed via a door from the main dwelling
- Its glazing meets safety standards
- It is located at ground level
Q3. I am considering installing oil-fired heating. Do I need to make an application?
A3. It depends. No not if you are installing an oil-fired appliance in the location of your existing heating appliance and connecting it to the existing flue. Yes if you are installing the appliance in a different location or installing a new flue in the same location.
Q4. I would like to build a detached garage. Do I need to make an application to Building Control?
A4. No provided that your garage has an internal floor area under 30mē and it is:
- Single storey
- Constructed of non-combustible material i.e. block wall, concrete roof tile
- Constructed of combustible material and is sited 1m from the dwelling or 1m from the boundary
Q5. Is Building Regulations approval the same as Planning Permission?
A5. No. Building Regulations approval is entirely separate from the process of obtaining planning permission. Planning permission may be required for proposed works and should be investigated prior to the commencement of the works. For information about planning permission, contact Planning Service on 028 3834 1144.
Q6. How can I make a Building Regulations application?
A6. There are two ways in which you can make a Building Regulations application - a Full Plans application or a Building Notice application. The building notice application can only be used from domestic works. In either case you must lodge an application prior to starting works. You can be prosecuted for failing to do this. You are required to contact your local Building Control office when your works commence.
Q7. What is involved in submitting a Full Plans application?
A7. You need to complete a standard application form available from your location Building Control office and you need to provide the following documentation:
- two copies of plans, sections and construction details
- a site location plan and a block plan showing boundaries and adjacent buildings
- a plan fee and, where required, an estimate of the cost
- for non-domestic work a further two sets of plans showing compliance with fire safety regulations are required.
N.B. You should ensure that you use the services of an architect/agent or professional designer who has a good working knowledge of Building Regulations.
Q8. What is involved in submitting a Building Notice application?
A8. You need to complete the Building Notice section on the standard application form which is available from your location Building Control office. You also need to provide the following documentation:
- The intended use of the building
- A description of the work and its location
- The proposed means of drainage
- The materials to be used
- The size of the building and its relationship to other buildings and boundaries
- A fee equal to the combined plan and inspection fee must be paid with the application
N.B. You may also be asked to provide details or calculations concerning particular elements of the construction. It is not necessary to provide full plans but if you have had a set prepared it would be helpful to lodge them with the application.
Q9. How long does it take to assess a Building Regulations application?
A9. It takes approximately 3 weeks to assess full plan applications.
Q10. When can I start work?
A10. Regardless of wheter you submit a building notice or full plan application you can commence work as soon as you lodge the application. It is important to notify your local Building Control office as soon as the work commences.
Q11. How can I arrange for an inspection to be carried out?Q12. How can I find out about the do's and don'ts of Building Regulations?
A11. There are certain stages of work at which you are required to notify the Building Control office that the works are available for inspection. Usually inspection requests are made by contacting our office via telephone, in writing, by fax or in person. Where requests are received before 10.30am inspections are usually carried out on the same day.
A12. Contact the Council's Building Control Department directly on 028 4066 0603 and ask for a copy of the many free leaflets this Department has already produced to help you understand its requirements.
Q13. How can I submit or ask a question about building control?
A13. You can submit a question by selecting the 'Contact Us' link in the left hand navigation listing. Alternatively, you can contact the Council's Building Control Department on 028 4066 0603.