Building regulations

What is the purpose of building regulations?

Building regulations are legal requirements intended to achieve a minimum standard for building work. Whether the structure is a new build, extending or altering an existing building, or changing the way a building is used, you will normally need to seek building regulation approval. 

It applies to most types of buildings including domestic, commercial and industrial buildings. Building regulations specifically relate to the technical aspects of construction and cover things like structural stability, fire resistance, means of escape, disabled access, weather resistance, thermal insulation, and drainage.

Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health and safety of people in or around buildings.

Building regulations do not provide a quality check for building works. These are set by parliament and are supported by separate documents containing practical and technical guidance on compliance, which are known as approved documents.

For more detailed information on building regulations please read the building regulations explanatory booklet.

Is building regulation approval the same as obtaining planning permission?

Building regulations approval does not mean the same as obtaining planning permission for your work. In the same way, being granted planning permission is not the same as taking action to ensure that the work complies with building regulations.

Generally you will have to adhere to building regulations for building works or internal alteration of properties and as such you may not require planning approval. For many types of building work you may need to apply for building regulations and planning permission separately.

Find out more information on the differences between planning permission and building regulations. Also information about Planning and Building Regulations can be found on the website of Federation of Master Builders.

When do I need building regulations approval?

Find out what sort of projects require building regulations approval, and which are exempt.