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The Building Regulations

The Building Regulations are made under powers provided in the Building Act 1984 and apply in England and Wales. The current edition of the regulations is ‘The Building Regulations 2010’ (as amended) and the majority of building projects are required to comply with them.

They exist to ensure the health and safety of people in and around all types of buildings (i.e. domestic, commercial and industrial) and cover all aspects of a buildings’ construction, as well as the access to and facilities in a building.

The Building Regulations (as well as the Approved Documents) are continually being updated. The latest copies of the Approved Documents can be found here.


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The Building Regulations apply when “building work” or a “material change of use” occurs. Where the Building Regulations do apply, a Building Regulation application will be required.  

“Building work” means:

(a) The erection of a dwelling

For Example:

    • Constructing an extension
    • Converting a loft space into a habitable room
    • Converting a garage into a habitable room 

(b) The provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting in or in connection with a building

 For example: 

    • Installing a WC or bathroom involving new waste pipework and underground drainage
    • Replacing windows and/or glazed doors (unless otherwise undertaken by a registered competent person)
    • Installing and/or testing electrical installations in dwellings (unless otherwise undertaken by a registered competent person)
    • Installing a gas or solid fuel appliance (unless otherwise undertaken by a registered competent person)

(c) The material alteration of a building, or a controlled service or fitting

For example: 

    • Structural alterations to the building (e.g. removing all or part of a load bearing wall)
    • Alterations affecting the means of escape from the building; internal/external fire spread and access for the fire service in case of fire
    • Alterations affecting the access to and use of a building

Generally an alteration is material where:

    1. As a result of the work being undertaken, a building or controlled service/fitting does not comply, where previously it did; or
    2. If the works did not comply before, the works being undertaken have made the situation less satisfactory than before. 

(d) Works relating to a material change of use of a building

For example:

    • Converting a house into flats or vice-versa
    • Converting a house or houses into a lessor or greater number of dwellings than previously
    • A room for residential purposes is created in a building where previously it was not

(e) Inserting an insulating material into the cavity wall of a building

For example:

    • Retrofitting cavity wall insulation 

(f) Work involving the underpinning of a building.

(g, h, i) Work involving/affecting thermal elements/energy performance or a change in energy status.

For example:

    • Replacing or renovating a roof covering
    • Installing external/internal wall insulation 

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Schedule 2 of The Building Regulations 2010 (as amended) outlines the types of buildings and works that are exempt from Building Regulation control.

Generally, works that fall within the exemption classes of this Schedule do not require a Building Regulation application.

Whilst not exhaustive, the following provides details as to the more common types of building works which are exempt from the requirements of the Building Regulations: 

A Detached Building, with

    1. A floor area not exceeding 15m²; and
    2. No sleeping accommodation 

A Detached Single Storey Building, with:

    1. A floor area not exceeding 30m²; and
    2. No sleeping accommodation; and
    3. With no point of the building being less than one metre from the boundary of its curtilage; or that is constructed substantially of non-combustible material 

A Porch (formed at the ground level of a building), with:

    1. A floor area not exceeding 30m²; and
    2. An external quality door separating the porch from the main building; and
    3. If wholly or partly glazed, the glazing satisfies the requirements of Part K4, K5.1, K5.2, K5.3, and K5.4 of The Building Regulations 2010 (as amended)

A Conservatory (formed at the ground level of a building), with:

    1. A floor area not exceeding 30m²; and
    2. An external quality door and/or window separating the conservatory from the main building; and
    3. The controls for any heating in the conservatory is independent from the heating system of the house; and
    4. If wholly or partly glazed, the glazing satisfies the requirements of Part K4, K5.1, K5.2, K5.3, and K5.4 of The Building Regulations 2010 (as amended)

A Carport, with:

    1. A floor area not exceeding 30m²; and
    2. Is open on at least two sides 

Agricultural Buildings (excluding a greenhouse or a building used for agriculture if the principle purpose for which they are used is retailing, packing or exhibiting), where:

    1. No part of the building is used as a dwelling; and
    2. No part of the building is less than one and a half times its height from any point of a building which contains sleeping accommodation; and
    3. The building is provided with a fire exit which is not more than 30 metres from any point in the building
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The primary responsibility for submitting your application and achieving compliance with the regulations rests with the person carrying out the building work.

  • If you are carrying out the work personally the responsibility will be yours.
  • If you are employing a builder the responsibility will usually be theirs but you should confirm this position at the very beginning. 

You should also bear in mind that 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, so it is important that you choose your builder carefully.

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You should always remember that applying for and complying with the Building Regulations is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission for your project.

Similarly, receiving any planning permission which your work may require, is not the same as taking action to ensure that it complies with the Building Regulations.

Therefore you should always check to see if your project requires formal Planning permission to be granted

Please check with the Wiltshire Council Planning Department before commencing any building work. 

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Please remember that we are here to help you!

If you are unsure as to whether or not your project requires a Building Regulation application, please contact us to discuss your proposals before carrying out the work. 

The video on this page gives homeowners some simple advice about building regulations and how to make a building regulation application to us.

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Last updated: 4 August 2017 | Last reviewed: 4 August 2017