Planning & Building Control

A detailed explanation of Planning Permission & Building Control Approval

There are two separate local authority departments who may have in interest in the work you are planning to undertake on your property, these are the Planning Department (for the application of Planning Permission) and the Building Control Department (for the application of Building Control approval). It is important to understand the requirements of both departments.


Planning Permission

Planning regulations are introduced by central government and enforced by local authorities. They are the balance between protection of amenity and the environment, and the freedom of the individual to develop and improve property where desired.


Statutory Consents


These are the permissions you require from your local council in order to carry out the changes you wish to make to your property. Please visit the government website, which describes all aspects of consents:



Certificate of Lawfulness Application


If your proposals are classified as ‘Permitted Development’, i.e. extensions or additions to a single family dwelling, not exceeding the area or dimensional constraints in the planning regulations, planning permission will not be required. It is recommended that you apply for a certificate of lawfulness to future proof against changes in planning law.





If you are looking to make additions to a property it should be carried out in a way that is sympathetic to the design of the existing structure. This could be a condition of some planning requirements.


Planning Application


If your proposals are not classified as ‘Permitted Development’ you will need to apply for planning consent. A planning application will need to include location maps, drawings of your property in context, existing and proposed plans and elevations and in some cases a design and access statement. Applications are normally processed within an 8 week period. The consent is valid for three years from the date of approval.


Conservation Area Consent and Listed Building Consent


You may require conservation area consent if your property lies within a conservation area. You will also require listed building consent if your property is listed. It is likely that you will require additional drawings and specifications over and above that required for a planning application.


Building Control (Building Regulations) Approval


Building Regulations


The Building Regulations are made under the powers provided in the Building Act 1984 and apply in England and Wales. These regulations were amended and an updated version was issued in 2000. These regulations are in place to ensure the health and safety of all people in and around the different types of buildings, including domestic, commercial and industrial properties. Copies are available in most libraries and can be downloaded free from the ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) website.



The building regulations contain sections that deal with definitions and procedures and what is expected to meet the technical performance of building work. The regulations are broken down into the following categories:

  • Definition of the types of building, plumbing and heating projects that are classified under ‘Building Work’ and make these subject to control under the building regulations
  • Specifications of those buildings that are exempt from control under the building regulations
  • The notification procedures for planning, implementation and completion of the building work
  • The specific requirements that individual aspects of all building design and construction need to comply. The requirements are in the interest of the health and safety of building users, energy conservation, and of access to and use of buildings.

Building Control Approval


Building Control approval may will be required if you are building an extension, undertaking structural work such as moving or adding staircases, loft conversions, moving or demolishing load bearing walls, and any work involving new foundations, structural design or drainage.

Before you start construction you are advised to obtain building regulations approval. Building Control require notification in advance of any building works being conducted on site. Building Control is the local authority that ensures that your proposals are built according to approved technical standards. A Building Control inspector will visit your project once under construction to confirm that you are building in accordance with the approved documents. Once completed, a certificate is released to confirm compliance. The application may require further input from a Structural Engineer and Eco Advisor (SAP calculations).

Certain renovation or replacement work will also need to comply with the Building Regulations although specific approval is not required. The applicant has two options for gaining consent:

i) Building Notice – the applicant can submit a completed form to the Building Control Department advising that work will be carried out so that an inspector can visit the site to ensure the work is compliant with the regulations. The form will provide details of the proposed work and it may also include a ‘block plan’ if the work includes a new building or an extension.

ii) Full Plans Submission – the applicant provides a form and drawings outlining how the construction will comply with the regulations. This will include:

  •  A location plan showing the building, boundaries of the property in relation to adjacent streets and houses and any proposed extension or additional structure
  • Plans, elevations and sections with technical notes that describe the proposed work to be carried out
  • Proposals for building over or adjacent to any sewer
  • Structural calculations (if the construction includes any new or load bearing elements)



Local Authority (Planning & Building Control):

  • Planning: £150 for alterations to a single dwelling, new dwelling £335
  • Building control: £125-£550 for properties up to 300sqm 

Note: Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and the Building Regulations are legal requirements.

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