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New Build in Telford receives Building Reulations Approval in Madeley, Telford, Shropshire.




Beginner’s Guide to Building Regulations

What are building regulations?

Building regulations in the UK are a set of standards and guidelines that govern the construction, alteration, and maintenance of buildings to ensure the health, safety, welfare, and energy efficiency of occupants. These regulations apply to most types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and industrial structures. The building regulations in the UK are enforced by local authorities or approved inspectors.

Here are some key aspects of the building regulations in the UK:

  1. Structural integrity: Buildings must be designed and constructed to be structurally safe and stable, taking into account factors such as the loads they will be subjected to and the materials used.

  2. Fire safety: Regulations cover measures to prevent the spread of fire, including the installation of fire-resistant materials, fire alarms, emergency lighting, and fire escapes. Certain types of buildings may have additional requirements, such as sprinkler systems.

  3. Means of escape: Buildings must provide safe and accessible means of escape in case of fire or other emergencies. This includes proper design and positioning of exits, corridors, and staircases.

  4. Access and facilities for disabled people: Buildings should be designed to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, with provisions for features such as ramps, handrails, accessible toilets, and parking spaces.

  5. Energy efficiency: Regulations aim to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in buildings. They cover aspects such as insulation, ventilation, heating systems, and the use of energy-efficient materials and appliances.

  6. Ventilation and hygiene: Regulations require buildings to have adequate ventilation to maintain good indoor air quality. This includes provisions for natural or mechanical ventilation and the prevention of condensation and mold growth.

  7. Electrical safety: Regulations cover the installation and maintenance of electrical systems in buildings to ensure safety and compliance with wiring standards.

  8. Plumbing and sanitation: Requirements are in place for the installation of water supply, drainage, and sanitation systems, including provisions for clean drinking water and proper waste disposal.

  9. Conservation of fuel and power: Regulations specify standards for the conservation of fuel and power, aiming to reduce energy consumption and promote sustainable building practices.


It's important to note that building regulations may vary slightly between different parts of the UK, such as England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Additionally, local authorities may have specific additional requirements or restrictions depending on the location and specific circumstances. It's recommended to consult with the local building control department or a qualified professional for detailed and up-to-date information on specific building regulations in a particular area.

What is the history of building control in the UK?

The history of building regulations in the UK dates back several centuries. Here is a brief overview of the key milestones and developments:

  1. Ancient and Medieval Periods: Building regulations can be traced back to ancient times when various civilizations had guidelines for construction. In the UK, during the medieval period, local authorities issued regulations to govern construction techniques, fire safety, and materials used in buildings.

  2. Great Fire of London (1666): The devastating fire led to the introduction of the London Building Act in 1667. This act marked the first comprehensive set of building regulations in England. It focused on fire safety measures, such as the use of brick or stone for construction, limitations on timber usage, and the width of streets.

  3. Industrial Revolution (18th and 19th centuries): The rapid urbanization and industrialization during this period brought about increased concerns for public health and safety. Regulations were introduced to address issues related to overcrowding, sanitation, and fire prevention.

  4. Public Health Act (1848): This act established the foundation for modern building regulations by addressing sanitation and public health concerns. It covered aspects such as drainage, ventilation, and clean water supply for buildings.

  5. Metropolitan Building Act (1855): The act was introduced in response to concerns about the structural safety of buildings and established requirements for structural stability, fire safety, and sanitation.

  6. Town Planning Act (1909): This act introduced town planning regulations to control the development of land, including considerations for building layout, open spaces, and road infrastructure.

  7. Building Regulations (1936): The first national building regulations were introduced in 1936 under the Building (Scotland) Act and the Building (Amendment) Act in England and Wales. These regulations aimed to ensure safety, health, and welfare in buildings.

  8. Building Act (1984): The Building Act of 1984 brought significant changes to the regulatory framework. It introduced a unified system of building control in England and Wales, and building regulations became more standardized and comprehensive. It established the role of Approved Inspectors alongside local authority building control.

  9. Further Revisions and Amendments: Since the 1984 Act, there have been several revisions and updates to the building regulations in response to evolving needs and concerns. These include amendments related to fire safety, energy efficiency, accessibility, and sustainability.

How do building regulations differ from planning permission?

Building regulations look in detail at the construction and materials used for any building works unlike Planning Permission which is used to guide the way places are developed, the appearance of buildings, the impact to the environment, highway access and use of the building.

What’s the difference between building regulations drawings & planning drawings?

Building regulations drawings are more detailed than planning drawings due to the level of information required to explain how things are constructed. This can make them more difficult to understand if you are not used to reading drawings. A good set of building regulation plans should have a high level of detail & include detailed construction notes to explain the proposed construction methods of your project. This extra detail can make it easier to price a job more accurately so more accurate estimates can be obtained from a good set of building regs plans.

When would I need to apply for building regulations approval?

Nearly all types of building work require approval. Typical examples of works that require approval include:-

  • Building a new home

  • Erection, extension or alteration of a building

  • Change of buildings use

  • Internal structural alterations

  • Loft & garage conversions

  • Forming a structural opening; e.g. new window or through room

  • Installing cavity wall insulation

  • Underpinning a house

  • Installing a WC

Please note this list is not exhaustive. As a general rule of thumb if the work is structural then it probably requires approval. If in doubt you could check with your local building control department (or contact us).

Can I extend my home without building regulations?

There are certain types of small extensions that are exempt from building regulations. These include:-

  • Conservatories, Porches or other Covered Passages / Yards

  • Carports with at least 2 open sides

There are some conditions that still apply. The new floor area must be less than 30m2 and any glazing in conservatories & porches must still meet the requirements of Part N Building Regulations. Conservatories must have at least 75% glazing on the roof & 50% glazed walls and maintain existing walls, windows & doors from the existing house.

Are there any other exemptions from building regulations?

Detached single storey buildings (such as garages, sheds & greenhouses) are exempt if less than 15m2 floor area and containing no sleeping accommodation. Buildings between 15 – 30m2 floor area are still exempt if built at least 1 metre away from your site boundary or if within 1 metre of your site boundary & built of mainly non-combustible material.

How can I get building regulations approval?

There are two main ways to obtain building regulations approval, a full plans application or a building notice. A full plans application will need to include a completed application form, the correct fee and a detailed set of plans with enough information to explain how your proposed work will meet the regulations. If you already have a set of planning drawings for your project you should also include these as part of your application. The application will be approved, refused or approved with conditions.


The other option is called a building notice. No plans need to be submitted for a building notice, all that is required is a completed application form & the correct fee. Building notices are more commonly used for small works such as DIY alterations. With either route to approval a building control inspector will make site visits at certain key stages to check that completed work meets the regulations and if you submitted a full plans application you will receive a completion certificate after the work is completed.

How much does a building regs application cost?

The costs will vary depending on nature of the work & your local authority. If you are building a new home you can expect to pay around £240 to submit a full plans application & around £510 for the required inspections. Works to existing houses such as extensions, conversions or renovations will cost around £180 to submit the plans & a further £200 – £550 for inspections. If using an approved inspector the costs are usually similar to using your local authority building control department. An approved inspector may require all of the fees paid up front which differs from the local authority’s approach. Your local authority or approved inspector can advise on the latest schedule of fees. Click the following links to find your local authority building control department and a list of regional approved inspectors.

Is it cheaper to submit a building notice?

The application fees should be around the same as a full plans application. You may initially save money on design fees as you do not need any drawings or plans to accompany a building notice. Depending on the type of work you are planning, you may still need drawings for a planning application or at least to obtain more accurate builders quotes. Whilst a building notice might seem like the cheapest option, a good set of drawings or plans can make it easier to calculate build costs and reduce problems on site. This can reduce build costs and will often save you more money than the cost of the plans.

What happens if my full plans application is approved with conditions?

An approval with conditions means that, in principle, your proposals meet the regulations but there may be certain minor changes required in order to fully comply. The conditions may also request additional information such as structural calculations or extra detail to fully explain the construction.

Can building regulations approval be applied for retrospectively?

Yes, although we always recommend applying for approval before building work starts. If you have done building work that should have had building regulations approval then you are at risk of prosecution. You are able to submit a regularisation application through your local authority to have the unauthorised work approved.

In the context of the United Kingdom, a building regularisation certificate refers to a document that may be issued by the local planning authority to legitimize or regularize unapproved building work or changes made to a property. It is also known as a regularisation certificate or certificate of lawful development.

In the UK, it is a legal requirement to obtain planning permission or building regulations approval for certain types of building work or modifications. However, there are instances where construction work has been carried out without the necessary permissions or deviates from the approved plans.

The building regularisation certificate process provides an opportunity for property owners to bring unapproved building work into compliance with the regulations. It involves submitting an application to the local planning authority, accompanied by detailed documentation, such as plans, structural calculations, and evidence of the work already completed.

The local planning authority will review the application and assess whether the unapproved work meets the required standards and can be regularized. They will consider factors such as the impact on the building's structural integrity, compliance with building regulations, and adherence to planning policies. If the authority is satisfied that the work meets the necessary criteria, they may issue a building regularisation certificate.

Obtaining a building regularisation certificate provides formal recognition that the unapproved work has been retrospectively authorized. It helps to ensure that the building is brought up to the required standards and complies with relevant regulations. It can be beneficial for property owners who wish to sell their property or resolve any potential issues related to unauthorized building work.

It's important to note that the process and requirements for obtaining a building regularisation certificate can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the local planning authority. It is advisable to consult with the relevant authority or seek professional advice from an architect, planning consultant, or building control surveyor to navigate the process effectively.

Can I prepare building regulations plans myself?

You could certainly have a go although we wouldn’t recommend it. There are resources available online including many building regulations notes and details. Whilst it’s easy enough to find notes and details online, it requires skill to know what notes are relevant and what construction methods are most suitable for an individual project.

Can EN-PLAN provide building regulations notes for my project?

Of course. We can write a tailored building regulations specification for you including all the relevant notes for your project. The specification can accompany your existing plans (if you have any) and can help you obtain full plans approval. Our specifications are also an ideal tool for contractors who’ve been asked to quote for work or build from planning drawings only. Prices start from just £95. Contact us now to find out more.

Can EN-PLAN produce building regulations plans for my project?

Yes, we can do that too. We produce detailed building regs plans to ensure you meet current building regulations requirements. The level of detail can be adjusted to suit the complexity of your project so any drawings we produce will be fit-for-purpose. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

We’ve used another Architectural Designer to prepare planning drawings. Can EN-PLAN produce building regulations plans from our current planning drawings?

We certainly can. We’ve produced building regulations plans for clients across the country who started out with another Architectural Designer. Often they have been quoted a very high fee for ongoing work or have just had a poor customer experience. Feel free to email your planning drawings to our Chartered Architectural Technologist. He may be able to save you money and improve your customer experience.

We can provide building regulations plans tailored to your project.


In terms of the construction process there are other factors to be mindful of and in the section we will look at them andf how En-Plan can provide assistance:


In the UK, a demolition notice is a formal document submitted to the local authority or building control department to inform them of an intended demolition or substantial demolition work on a building or structure. The purpose of a demolition notice is to ensure that the demolition is carried out safely and in compliance with relevant regulations.

When a property owner or developer plans to undertake a demolition project, they are required to serve a demolition notice to the local authority. The specific requirements and procedures for submitting a demolition notice can vary depending on the country within the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland) and the local authority's regulations.

The demolition notice typically includes the following information:

  1. Property details: The address and description of the building or structure to be demolished.

  2. Applicant details: The name and contact information of the person or organization responsible for the demolition project.

  3. Proposed date: The intended start date of the demolition work.

  4. Method statement: A description of the proposed methods and techniques that will be used for the demolition, including any safety precautions and environmental considerations.

  5. Health and safety plan: Information about how the demolition work will be carried out safely, including measures to protect workers, nearby properties, and the general public.

  6. Site plan: A scaled plan showing the location of the building or structure to be demolished within the site.

  7. Structural survey: In some cases, a structural survey report may be required to assess the condition of the building and identify any potential hazards.


The local authority will review the demolition notice and ensure that the proposed demolition complies with relevant regulations, including health and safety requirements, environmental considerations, and any local planning rules. They may request additional information or impose conditions before granting approval for the demolition to proceed. It's important to note that in certain circumstances, such as demolitions involving listed buildings or those located within conservation areas, additional permissions or consents may be required from heritage or conservation authorities.


What is a Party Wall Agreement?

A party wall agreement, also known as a party wall award, is a legal agreement between property owners who share a common boundary or wall. It is typically required when one property owner plans to undertake certain construction or renovation works that could potentially affect the shared wall or the neighboring property.


In the UK, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides the legal framework for party wall agreements. The act applies to England and Wales, while similar legislation exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland with some variations.


The primary purpose of a party wall agreement is to regulate and protect the rights and responsibilities of property owners when carrying out construction work near or affecting a shared wall, boundary, or structure. The Act defines certain types of work as "notifiable" that require serving notice to the affected neighboring property owners. Notifiable works typically include building a new wall on the boundary, cutting into or modifying an existing party wall, and excavating near a party wall. The property owner planning the works, known as the "building owner," must serve a party wall notice to the affected neighboring property owners, known as "adjoining owners." The notice outlines the nature of the proposed works and the anticipated start date. If the adjoining owner does not provide written consent within a specific period or dissents to the proposed works, a party wall surveyor(s) may need to be appointed. The surveyor(s) will prepare a party wall award, which is a legally binding document detailing the rights, responsibilities, and agreed procedures related to the works. The award may include provisions for access arrangements, work hours, the resolution of disputes, and the cost allocation. Each party involved can appoint their own surveyor, or they may agree on a single surveyor who acts impartially for both parties. The surveyors assess the proposed works, protect the rights and interests of both parties, and ensure compliance with the relevant legislation. In cases where there is a disagreement between the parties or the appointed surveyors, the Act provides mechanisms for resolving disputes. This may involve further negotiation, mediation, or, in some cases, referral to the court.


It is important for property owners to understand their rights and obligations under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and consult with a qualified party wall surveyor or legal professional to ensure compliance with the legislation and the smooth progression of the proposed works while maintaining good relations with neighboring property owners.

What are the different types of Party Wall Agreement?

Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 in England and Wales, there are three main types of party wall agreements or awards that can be established:

  1. Party Wall Agreement (Section 2 Agreement): This type of agreement is the most common and occurs when the neighboring property owner(s) give consent in writing to the proposed works outlined in the party wall notice. Once the adjoining owner(s) provide their consent, a party wall agreement is formed, outlining the agreed-upon works and any associated conditions.

  2. Party Wall Award (Section 10 Award): If the adjoining owner(s) dissent or do not respond within the specified period after receiving the party wall notice, each party may appoint a surveyor to prepare a party wall award. The surveyors evaluate the proposed works and the potential impact on the adjoining property, and the party wall award is a legally binding document that sets out the rights and obligations of each party. This type of agreement is used when there is a disagreement between the parties or when the adjoining owner(s) fail to respond to the notice.

  3. Party Structure Notice (Section 6 Notice): In some cases, where the proposed works involve constructing a new wall or structure along the boundary line, the building owner must serve a party structure notice. This notice is different from a party wall notice and is specific to building a new wall. The adjoining owner(s) then have the choice to either consent to the notice or dissent and appoint a surveyor to prepare a party structure award.


It's important to note that the specific terminology and procedures for party wall agreements may vary slightly in Scotland and Northern Ireland due to separate legislation in those regions. Additionally, the use of the different types of agreements may vary depending on the circumstances of the particular project and the agreement reached between the parties involved. Consulting with a party wall surveyor or a legal professional can provide specific guidance tailored to your situation.

Structural Calculations

Structural calculations are typically required by building control authorities in the following scenarios:

  1. New Buildings: When constructing a new building, building control may require structural calculations to verify the adequacy and stability of the proposed structural design. This applies to various types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and industrial structures.

  2. Structural Alterations: If you are planning significant structural alterations to an existing building, such as removing load-bearing walls, adding additional floors, or modifying the roof structure, building control may require structural calculations. These calculations ensure that the proposed changes will not compromise the structural integrity of the building.

  3. Extensions: When adding an extension to an existing building, building control may request structural calculations to assess the load-bearing capacity of the existing structure and ensure that the extension is properly supported and integrated into the original building.

  4. Change of Building Use: If you are converting a building for a different use, such as converting a warehouse into residential units, building control may require structural calculations to evaluate the structural implications of the change and ensure the building can safely accommodate the new use.

  5. Complex Structural Systems: In cases where the building design involves complex or unconventional structural systems, such as steel or timber frame structures, building control may require structural calculations to verify the design's compliance with relevant standards and regulations.

  6. High-Risk Buildings: Certain types of buildings, such as high-rise structures, buildings with large open spaces, or buildings with significant public occupancy, may be subject to more stringent requirements. Building control may request detailed structural calculations to ensure the building can withstand the expected loads and provide appropriate levels of safety.


What is a Fire Strategy?

A fire strategy refers to a comprehensive plan designed to prevent, control, and mitigate the risk of fires in various types of buildings. It is an important aspect of fire safety management and is typically developed in accordance with applicable regulations and standards.

A fire strategy outlines the specific measures and procedures that should be implemented to minimize the likelihood of fire incidents, as well as to protect life and property in the event of a fire. The strategy takes into account the unique characteristics of the building or premises, such as its purpose, size, occupancy, and potential fire hazards.

Here are some key elements commonly included in a fire strategy:

  1. Fire Prevention: Measures to reduce the risk of fire, such as proper housekeeping, regular maintenance of fire safety equipment, and the implementation of fire safety policies and procedures.

  2. Detection and Warning: Installation of fire detection and alarm systems to promptly alert occupants in the event of a fire, enabling safe evacuation and early intervention.

  3. Means of Escape: Design and provision of adequate escape routes, exits, and signage to ensure the safe evacuation of occupants from the building. This includes considering factors like travel distances, door widths, and emergency lighting.

  4. Fire Protection Measures: Installation of fire-resistant materials, fire doors, fire compartments, and other passive fire protection systems to contain the spread of fire and smoke, allowing occupants to evacuate safely.

  5. Active Fire Protection: Provision and maintenance of active fire protection systems, such as fire extinguishers, fire sprinkler systems, and automatic fire suppression systems, to control or extinguish fires.

  6. Evacuation Procedures: Development and communication of clear evacuation procedures, including designated assembly points and regular drills to ensure that occupants know how to respond during a fire emergency.

  7. Training and Education: Implementation of fire safety training programs to educate building occupants about fire hazards, evacuation procedures, and the proper use of fire safety equipment.

  8. Management Responsibilities: Clearly defining the responsibilities of individuals or teams responsible for fire safety management, including regular inspections, testing, and maintenance of fire safety measures.


It is important to note that fire strategies may vary depending on the type of building, its intended use, and local regulations. Consulting with fire safety professionals, such as fire engineers or fire safety officers, can help in developing a robust fire strategy tailored to specific requirements.

When is a fire strategy required?

In the UK, the requirement for a fire strategy varies depending on the specific circumstances and regulations. Here are some instances where a fire strategy may be required:

  1. New Buildings: For new buildings or significant alterations to existing buildings, a fire strategy is typically required as part of the planning and building control processes. This ensures that fire safety measures are considered and incorporated into the design and construction stages.

  2. Change of Use: If there is a change in the use or occupancy of a building, such as converting a commercial property into a residential one, a fire strategy may be necessary to assess and address the fire risks associated with the new use.

  3. Licensing and Regulatory Requirements: Certain types of premises, such as hotels, care homes, educational institutions, or entertainment venues, may have specific fire safety licensing requirements. As part of the licensing process, a fire strategy may need to be submitted to demonstrate compliance with fire safety regulations.

  4. HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation): HMOs, which are properties where multiple individuals or households share common facilities, are subject to additional fire safety regulations. Local authorities often require a fire strategy to be submitted as part of the licensing process for HMOs.

  5. Major Refurbishments: When a building undergoes significant refurbishments or renovations, a fire strategy may be necessary to address any changes in fire safety measures resulting from the works.


En-Plan can assist with gthe above by working in partnership with calcsonline to provide the quickest and most const effective structural calculations that will enable your project to progress.

If you have any questions please do get in touch.

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En-Plan: Planning & Arcitetcue Chartered Town Planning Consultants


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