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Questions about Building Regulations

If I want to build a garage extension onto my home, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES but a carport extension, open on at least two sides and under 30m2 in floor area, is exempt. You should ensure that a carport does not interfere with the proper working of a lowlevel flue outlet from an oil or gas appliance (guidance on the location of flues can be found in Approved Document J).

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If I want to build a detached garage under 30m2 in floor area, will the Building Regulations apply ?

Possibly not. The building will be exempt from the regulations but only providing it is:

  • Under 30m2 in floor area
  • Single storey and does not contain any sleeping accommodation
  • And provided either: it is built substantially of non-combustible material; or when built it is no less than 1m from the boundary of the property.
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If I want to put up a greenhouse or a small detached building such as a garden shed or summerhouse in my garden, will the Building Regulations apply ?

NO these buildings will be exempt from the regulations but only providing the building is fully covered by the definitions and conditions given in Schedule 2 to the Building Regulations.

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If I want to carry out a loft conversion to my home, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES. The appropriate requirements of the regulations will be applied so as to ensure, for example: the structural strength of the proposed floor is sufficient; the stability of the structure (including the roof) is not endangered; safe escape from fire; and safely designed stairs to the new floor.

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If I want to convert an integral or attached garage to a dwelling into habitable use, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES. The appropriate requirements of the regulations will be applied so as to ensure that, for example, the existing accommodation is brought up to the standard required for habitable use, including thermal insulation. Structural alterations to create new window openings and the infilling of the existing garage door opening will need to comply with the appropriate requirements of Part A; and if the imposed loading is to be increased then the adequacy of the existing foundations will also need investigation.

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If I want to carry out internal alterations within my home, or any other type of building, will the Building Regulations apply?

VERY LIKELY. The regulations specify what forms of alteration amount to ‘material alterations’ and are therefore Building Works, taking account of the potential for the proposed work to adversely affect compliance of the building with specific requirements. On this basis the regulations are very likely to apply if your project will involve alterations to the structure of the building (e.g. the removal or part removal of a load bearing wall, joist, beam or chimney breast); will affect escape or other fire precautions either inside or outside the building; or will affect access to and use of buildings. On the assumption that the regulations do apply, all the work involved in the alteration must comply with all the appropriate requirements.

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If I want to replace one or more windows in my home, or any other type of building, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES - If you are replacing the whole of the fixed frame and opening parts. If the work is to your home and you employ a FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) registered installer, you will not need to involve a Building Control Service. But on completion the installer must give your local authority a certificate that the work complies with Part L and other appropriate parts of the Building Regulations. You will be provided with a certificate of compliance for your records.

NO - if the work amounts to no more than, for example, replacing broken glass, replacing fogged double-glazing units, replacing some rotten sashes (i.e. opening parts) in the main window frame, or replacing some rotten sections of the main frame members.

If your building is listed nationally, or locally in some way, for its architectural or historic interest and/or is located in a sensitive urban or rural environment (e.g. a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), you should note that English Heritage have produced an Interim Guidance Note on the application of Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations. The Note offers advice on how to balance the needs for energy conservation with those of building conservation.

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If I want to carry out repairs to my home, or any other type of building, will the Building Regulations apply ?

NO - if the repairs are of a minor nature: e.g. replacing roofing tiles with the same type and weight of tile; replacing the felt to a flat roof; re-pointing brickwork; or replacing floorboards.

YES - if the repair work is more significant: e.g. removing a substantial part of a wall and rebuilding it; underpinning a building; or installing a new flue or flue liner. In the case of re-roofing:

  • If the new tiling or roofing material is substantially heavier or lighter than the existing material then the Building Regulations may apply
  • If the roof is thatched, or is to be thatched where previously it was not then the Building Regulations WILL apply.
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If I want to convert my house into flats, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES. The regulations define this as a material change of use and specify the requirements with which, as a result of that change of use, the whole or part of the building must comply (e.g. those concerned with escape and other fire precautions, hygiene, sound insulation, and conservation of energy). The whole or part of the building may therefore need to be upgraded to make it comply with the specified requirements.

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If I want to build or alter a garden wall or boundary wall, will the Building Regulations apply ?

NO - but you should, of course, make sure that the work is done safely to avoid accidents (see paragraph 3.8). In Inner London there are regulations about walls and you should make enquiries at your London Borough before building a wall over 2m high. A free leaflet is available on the safe construction of free standing walls.

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If I want to insert insulation into a cavity wall, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES. The regulations specifically define this as Building Work. The appropriate requirements will be applied so as to ensure the insulation material is suitable for the wall construction, and that in the case of some foam insulants the risk of formaldehyde gas emission is assessed.

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If I want to underpin all or part of the foundations to my building, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES. The regulations specifically define this as Building Work. The appropriate requirements will be applied so as to ensure that the underpinning will stabilise the movement of the building. Particular regard will need to be given to the effect on any sewers and drains near the work.

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If I want to install or replace electric wiring, will the Building Regulations apply ?

NO - but:

  • your contract with the electricity distribution company has conditions about safety which must not be broken. In particular, you should not interfere with the distribution company's equipment which includes the cables to your consumer unit or the cables up to and including the separate main isolator switch if provided
  • electrical work should be acceptably safe whoever undertakes it. This can be achieved by following the recommendations for design, installation, inspection, testing and certification in - Requirements for Electrical Installations IEE Wiring Regulations(BS 7671).

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If I want to install fittings such as a WC, shower, washbasin, or kitchen sink within my home, or any other type of building, will the Building Regulations apply ?

YES - if the installation of the fitting or fittings will involve alterations to, or new connections to, a drainage stack or an underground drain. You should also check with your Building Control Service to find out how much information is required about the fittings you intend to use.

NO - provided the work only involves installing an additional fitting or fittings in the same or a new location which does not involve extensions to the drainage pipework.

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