Got your planning permission? Now you’ll need Building Regulations drawings to make sure your build meets national standards for building quality.
Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to buildings in the UK. Any project you undertake must adhere to them Building Regulations are designed to ensure buildings are safe, structurally sound, water and energy efficient for their users, and also ensure that they are built in a way that allows access for people with disabilities.
Building Regulations drawings are much more detailed than planning drawings, showing construction methods and details in the drawing package and contain drawings, calculations and specification from your structural engineer showing proof that your proposed works are in full compliance with all the relevant Building Regulations.
They are grouped into 15 technical categories, from A to Q, known as ‘approved documents’. These are:
Planning permission is formally-granted permission from your local council that allows for the erection or alteration of buildings or other structural development, but has little to do with their actual construction process
Planning permission decisions are focused on whether development should go ahead or not – taking into account the appearance of buildings, the immediate neighbours and the potential impact the development will have on the wider environment.
Building Regulations, on the other hand, relate to how a building should be constructed. UK Building Control services work to make sure all buildings are designed and constructed in line with Building Regulations.
Your local council should have a Building Control department, where Building Control officers (also known as building inspectors) are usually based. Some Building Control officers are Approved Inspectors working in the private sector instead.
If you’re undertaking any building or alteration work within your home, you should check whether it needs to be signed off as being compliant with Building Regulations.
On this page of the Planning Portal website you’ll find Building Regulations guidance for many common building projects. Some projects that need to comply with Building Regulations must be signed off by Building Control officers. These include:
If you decide to use a local authority Building Control office for your Building Regulations (which tends to be the slower option), there are three types of application depending on the build stage:
Once work is underway, the Building Control Service will need to make routine site inspections at various stages. Notice should be given to allow Building Control adequate time to inspect the work. If suitable notice isn’t given, Building Control may ask for work to be opened up for inspection. Talk to your local Building Control Service for more information about the inspection process.
If you use an Approved Inspector from the private sector, you should jointly notify your local authority that an Approved Inspector is carrying out the building control function. This video from Jewson offers a good overview of what exactly Building Control inspectors do, and why Building Regulations are so important.
There is also a group of projects that need to comply with Building Regulations, but can be self-certified and signed off by the installer themself – if that tradesman is registered with a relevant Competent Person Scheme.
The Competent Person Scheme was introduced by the government to allow individuals and businesses with appropriate qualifications, skills and experience to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations without needing to involve the council’s own departments.
Tradesmen who are registered with a Competent Person Scheme are vetted to ensure they are qualified to carry out specific types of work in accordance with the Building Regulations. Examples of projects that fall into this category include:
When they’ve finished, registered tradesmen will notify Building Control on your behalf and issue you with a certificate of completion. However, if you don’t use a registered tradesman, then you will have to notify your local Building Control and pay a fee to have the work inspected.
You don’t need Building Regulations approval for certain exempt, generally smaller-scale projects. These include:
If your local authority considers that the building work doesn’t comply with Building Regulations, they won’t issue you with a completion certificate, and unless work is rectified, any contraventions will appear in local land searches if you sell your property. In addition, you may also be subject to enforcement notices and fines – so it’s not worth the risk!
Getting good-quality building regulations drawings is key to the success of your build, so don’t skimp on them. If you’ve already got your planning permission, then we can help you with the next steps to push your project forwards. Drop us an email, call us on 0121 455 0032 or write to us on our live chat to find out how we can help you.