Building Regulations

Part P IllustrationThe DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) is responsible for Building Regulations, which exist principally to ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings. The regulations apply to most new buildings and to many alterations of existing buildings in England and Wales whether domestic, commercial or industrial. Please note that Scotland has its own system of building regulations which are not covered here: links are available at the bottom of the page to the relevant sites.

Your project will almost certainly require Building Regulations approval before you can commence with construction.

 Building Regulations cover the following areas of building work: (Click on Titles to download PDF copies of Regulations)

What you need to do

Building InspectorMost building projects have to comply with building regulations. For example, you will need to comply if you put up a new building, extend or significantly alter an existing one (eg converting a loft space into a living space). You may also need to comply if you want to install services or fittings in a building, such as replacement windows, toilets, sinks, or hot water cylinders, or if you change the use of a building, since the new use may mean it does not comply to the appropriate regulations.

If you are unsure whether the work you want to do needs to comply, contact the building regulations department of your local council. They will also be able to advise you about the requirements that apply to the work you want to carry out and what procedures you need to follow - Find your Local Council

If your project is subject to the building regulations you must, with some exceptions, use one of two types of building control services:

  • your local authority building control service
  • an approved inspector's building control service

In either case, an inspector will check on the compliance of the work. A charge or fee is payable.

The primary responsibility for complying with the regulations belongs to the person carrying out the building work. So if you are carrying out the work personally the responsibility will be yours. If you are employing a builder the responsibility will usually be that firm’s – but you should confirm this position at the very beginning. If you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations.

Apply for building regulations approval


Complying with building regulations is a separate matter from getting planning permission for your work. In the same way, receiving any planning permission is not the same as taking action to ensure that it complies with building regulations. A free guide to regulations and the planning system is available via the link below.

Building Regulations: Explanatory Booklet (PDF 1191 Kb) may be downloaded from the Planning Portal Website.


Further information on building regulations in England and Wales is now available on the Government Planning Portal Website.

Other Useful Links may be found at:
The Scottish Building Standards Agency


Acknowledgement: Content for this page has been extracted in part from the DCLG and the Planning Portal websites - please visit these sites for more detailed information and guidance on all related matters.



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