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Inter County Surveys

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Building Control

Why do I need Building Control or Building Regulations?

As we have mentioned before, Planning permission assesses whether the development fits in with local and national policies and whether it would cause unacceptable harm, for example, to neighbours' quality of life. Whereas building control covers the structural, safety and accessibility aspects of development and progress throughout the construction.

Planning permission and building regulations approval (building control) are different and they are covered by separate pieces of legislation. Sometimes you may need both; sometimes you may only require one; or none at all. Because the planning legislation is distinctly different from building control legislation, please don’t think that one grants consent for another.

In June 2022, significate changes took place in regard to many aspects of the Building Regulations. These changes took place as part of the Government drive towards Nett Zerro.

Together with these changes, another very significate change that came into force in April 2023, is the Building Safety Act.

These new regulations have had a significant effect on the way in which construction is carried out, and the materials that now have to be used. The adage of the builder saying 'I've done it like this for 40 years' means nothing. It's a whole new ball game.

These are the biggest changes to building safety legislation for nearly 40 years, and they will raise standards across the industry and ensure designers, contractors, sub-contractor and building owners have nowhere to hide if they break the rules.


A defining element of the Building Safety Act is the responsibility on Clients, Designers and Contractors to be competent to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations.


For Principal Designers (us) and Contractors this responsibility for competence extends to compliance with the Act.


The building designer will be responsible for the design of the building, extension/alteration, and to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the Building Regulations and the Building Safety Act. Builders, contractors/sub-contractors will not be able to just change the design or change a type of material on a whim because he has found a cheaper alternative at his local builders merchant. 

It is Building Control’s responsibility to ensure that where building work are carried out the requirements of the regulations are complied with and to instigate the appropriate action where the construction of the works or procedure is not met. 

On the completion of the control works (works subject to inspection) a completion certificate is issued to the home owner stating that the works have been completed in accordance with the regulations. 

An important part (and a legal requirement) of any new dwelling, extension or alteration, is the requirement for a EPC, Energy Performance Certificate. For more information please follow the link.

This 'signing off' of the project is a very, very important step, as a property for sale that has been extended, converted, that has not been 'signed off', it can cause a sale to fall through.

Building Control Approval

Building Control approval can be sought through two different forms:-

Full Plans Application

  • The application will include details of the applicant, the site, a description of the works etc, documentation will also include drawings showing floor layouts, elevations, sections, and normally a specification detailing the works showing compliance with the current regulations. This application is then submitted to the local authority for formal approval prior to any works commencing on site. Once formal approval has been granted, the works must be carried out in accordance with those approved documents. A full plans approval notice is valid for three years from the date of deposit of the plans. The fee's chargeable for the application are set by the local authority.

Building Notice

  • A building notice is a route to building regulations approval in which no drawings are required. Instead, simply informing (building notice form) building control and having regular site inspections is used instead. This is only for smaller projects generally, however it always varies from project to project.

  • For the building notice process to be carried out, the authority working on your project requires information at various stages throughout your project. This has to be before you move on to the next stage. That way, the council have time to inspect and sign off or issue any necessary changes for that stage.

This route can lead to delay and costly mistakes. At every step, you’re hoping entirely that the build is compliant with building control standards. If there is an issue, you will not know until it is too late. That can be a very costly issue and delay the building works.

The builder has less to work from, and might mess up. You also have to consider that without the full plans route, the lack of drawings means that the builder you’re working with doesn’t have pre-approved, professional drawings to work from. As a result, you’re much more reliant on your builder knowing what they’re doing and not making any mistakes.

The disadvantages of a building notice:-

  • You do not have an approved plan to work to.

  • You may not know that the work is incorrect until after it is inspected.

  • Building estimates may not be accurate because full information about the design is not available.

  • All charges (plan and inspection) are paid at the time of deposit.


With the introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022, and the regulatory changes in Building Control that have come in on the 1st October 2023, any homeowner should be very, very  careful and understand fully the implications of using a Building Notice. We have all heard the comments from many builders, 'we've done it like this for 20 years' and there lies the problem.

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