The building regulations cover building work as defined in regulation three of the building regulations.
This means that if you want to put up a new building, extend or alter an existing one, or provide fittings in a building such as drains or heat-producing appliances, installing new windows, new washing and sanitary facilities or hot water storage (i.e. UN-vented hot water systems) the Building Regulations will probably apply.
They may also apply to certain "changes of use" of an existing building even though construction work may not be intended. This is because the change of use may involve the building having to meet different requirements of the regulations.
Do remember that although it may appear the regulations do not apply to some of the work you wish to undertake, the end result of doing that work without approval could lead to contravention's of the regulations, which is an illegal act.
You should also recognise that some work (whether or not controlled) could have implications for adjacent properties. In such cases it would be advisable to take professional advice and consult the Local Authority or an Approved Inspector. Some examples are:
removal of buttressing support to a party wall;
underpinning of part or all of a wall;
removal of a tree close to a wall of an adjoining property;
the addition of floor screed to a balcony which may reduce the height of a safety barrier;
building parapets which may increase snow accumulation and lead to excessive increase in loading on roofs.
A majority of work to a building of any description will normally require building regulation approval.
However there are certain types of work that are exempt permission. If you are intending to carry out building work to your property of any description then it may be appropriate to seek confirmation in writing that the building regulations or planning permission do not apply.
This confirmation should be kept with your house documentation so that should you wish to sell your property in the future the purchasers solicitor can be satisfied that all appropriate enquires have been made.
Do I need plans drawn up?
Unless you have a reasonable working knowledge of building construction it would be advisable before the work is begun to obtain professional advice (e.g. from an architect, structural engineer or a building surveyor) to form part of the design team for your project.
An architect will be able to advise you further of the process for making an application and will normally submit the application on your behalf.
If the work also requires planning permission these plans may be acceptable for building control purposes, with the inclusion of additional technical specifications.
The building control staff will be only too pleased to assist you, however, you must appreciate that with limited resources and in view of our insurance constraints the assistance and advice therefore has to be balanced.
Our role is not to design the project for you, but we are in a position to give helpful assistance and guidance.