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Do I need building regulations?

Building Regulations apply to most new buildings and certain alterations. They may also apply when the use of a building is changed.


Charges are made for checking plans and for site inspections and vary according to the work involved.


In general, most building work needs formal approval. The type of work covered includes:

  • erection of a new building or re-erection of an existing building, extension of a building
  • material alteration of a building
  • material change of use of a building
  • installation, alteration or extension of a controlled service or fitting to a building

Typical examples of this type of work include:

  • home extensions such as for a kitchen, bedroom, lounge
  • loft conversions
  • internal structural alterations, such as the removal of a load-bearing wall or partition
  • installation of baths, showers, WCs which involve new drainage or waste plumbing
  • installation of new heating appliances
  • new chimneys or flues
  • underpinning of foundations
  • alterations that affect the building's means of escape or fire precautions
  • altered openings for new windows in roofs or walls
  • replacing roof coverings unless exactly 'like for like' repair
  • installation of cavity wall insulation
  • erection of new buildings that are not exempt
  • access improvements for disabled people
  • replacement windows and doors
  • electric installations
In addition to needing Building Regulations Approval, most building work (including alterations and changes of use) will require Planning Permission.



There are certain buildings and work that are exempt from control. These include:

  • buildings not frequented by people
  • greenhouses and agricultural buildings
  • temporary buildings (less than 28 days)
  • small detached buildings
  • some porches, conservatories and detached garages

If you are in any doubt please contact us with details of your particular question or exemption claim so that you obtain a written reply agreeing the exemption. This will help any future sale of the property.

You can also download the leaflet Exemptions from Building Regulation Consent (Adobe PDF format, 44kb).


To learn more about the need for Building Regulations approval further information and advice can be found on the Planning Portal website using the interactive tool (external link) and by accessing common projects (external link).


Related information

Last updated: 5/13/2013

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West Lancashire Borough Council, 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk, West Lancashire L39 2DF
Tel: 01695 577177 | Email: customer.services@westlancs.gov.uk