Building regulations approval

It's important to check whether you need building regulations approval if you are planning a building or home improvement project. If you do need approval, you must apply before you start the work.

Building regulations approval is different to planning permission. You may need both - they cover different aspects of a project.

Compliance with building regulations is the responsibility of the property owner.

If work has been completed that did not get approval at the time, it is in breach of regulations and we could take enforcement action. You may be able to apply for regularisation. This is more expensive, and we may ask you to do further work.

To check progress of an applicationsearch for building control applications.

When and why you need building regulations approval and who can provide it

You need building regulations approval for most types of building work, including:

  • new buildings
  • loft and garage conversions
  • demolition
  • extensions (some smaller extensions are exempt)
  • structural alterations
  • home improvements (not normally for small repairs)
  • re-roofing and making changes to load-bearing walls and floors
  • underpinning
  • converting a property into a house or multiple occupation (HMO)

For commercial projects, you may need to comply with extra requirements. We are happy to advise, and can help with all aspects of commercial developments.

Details about what projects need building regulations approval

You can get more detail about what projects need building regulations (and planning permission) from LABC (Local Authority Building Control) and the Planning Portal.  

LABC Front Door - advice for homes  

LABC professionals area

Planning Portal - advice for houses

Planning Portal - advice for flats and shops

You can contact us for advice if you are still unsure.

You will not need to apply for approval if your project and contractor is covered by the Competent Person Scheme.

For many types of home improvements, you do not need to apply for approval yourself if a member of the Competent Person Scheme carries out the work. 

Competent Person Scheme members register work with us through their particular trade scheme (for example, FENSA for windows and the Gas Safe register for gas boilers). If they do not register the work, the work will be in breach of building regulations. They must also give you an installation certificate - ask for one if they do not.

You should always check the Competent Persons Register to confirm the person is a member.

Find a competent person or check if your contractor is registered 

Building regulations approval is a legal requirement. It ensures work meets the safety and energy efficiency standards set by law. These standards are important in making sure the property is safe to use and in reducing energy use (which in turn helps you keep costs down).

Approval is also a way to hold people working on the project to account by providing an independent expert to make checks.

If you do work without approval

  • we may prosecute you if you start work without applying for approval
  • you may have to carry out further work, or even demolish/remove the work, if we find you have completed work that does not meet the regulations
  • your buildings insurance may be invalid 
  • it may be harder to sell or remortgage the property - solicitors and lenders will ask for evidence of approval (completion certificate, plus approval notice if applicable)
  • you may get less for the property if you decide to sell 

Both private building control companies ('approved inspectors') and local authorities provide building regulations approval services. As the property owner, it is your decision who to use - don't let someone else choose for you. You are responsible for building regulations compliance for your property, so it is important you choose people you are confident in.

Here at Cheshire East Council, our experienced building control team provide a fast, efficient and cost effective service and will help you every step of the way.

Why choose Cheshire East Council building control 

Types of building regulations application and fees

Depending on the type of project, you can either submit a full plans application or a Building Notice. A Building Notice is faster for us to process and lets you get started sooner, but is only suitable for certain types of project. It would not, for example, be suitable for a large commercial project.

Full plans approval is generally used for larger or more complex projects. But it is also a good option for any project if you want to get your plans checked and receive feedback before starting work. You may also need to show a full plans approval notice to lenders, solicitors and surveyors for smaller projects if you are applying for a loan for the work or selling a property.

Applications must include detailed drawings, which we check alongside any other relevant information. We issue an approval notice if we are satisfied the plans comply with building regulations. We may ask you to amend the plans before we can approve them. We may reject plans if there is no satisfactory way to make them compliant.

We normally issue approval or rejection notices within 10 working days. Once you have the approval notice, you can start work. You or your builder will need to contact us to arrange site inspections.

As long as the work matches the approved plans and  inspections confirm it has been done to a satisfactory standard, the project will meet the regulations and you will get a completion certificate.  

Points to consider about full plans applications

  • detailed drawings can be expensive, but they make it easier to compare builders' quotes and give builders clear information on complying with building regulations.
  • you must programme the work to allow enough time to prepare plans and for us to process them 

A Building Notice is a simple process used for non-commercial projects. You do not need detailed drawings.

You can make a Building Notice application for:

  • building, extending and altering houses, flats and maisonettes, including providing services and installing fittings
  • the material change of use of a building to create a house/houses, flats or maisonettes

We normally validate (accept on our system) Building Notices within 2 working days of receiving payment. We may ask for further information such as structural design calculations, construction details, and material specifications.

Once you receive confirmation we have validated your Building Notice, you can start work. You or your builder will need to contact us to arrange site inspections

You will get a completion certificate when the work is satisfactorily completed. 

Points to consider about Building Notice applications

  • it can be hard to compare prices from different builders without approved drawings
  • you should only go ahead without detailed plans where builders and others involved know how they will meet the regulations and do not need the detail
  • as a surveyor will not have checked the plans in advance, we may identify points that you and your builder may not have considered and require you to make changes on site 
  • you may need to make a full plans application if you are applying for a loan for the work -  your lender may ask for approved drawings

The cost will be the same whether you choose a full plans application or a Building Notice.

Fees cover the complete process, including:

  • validation (checking we have all the documents and information needed)
  • all site inspections 
  • support and advice to you and your builder throughout the project

Costs vary depending on the proposed work. Standard projects are covered by our fee schedule - contact us for a price. For more complicated, multi-works or bespoke projects, you can ask for a quote online.

Fees for full plans applications are split into a plan check fee when you apply and an inspections fee invoiced after the first inspection. For Building Notices, you pay the full amount at the start. 

Fee exemptions for disability adaptations 

Projects to adapt or extend a property to cater for a person with a disability may be exempt from building regulations fees. To be eligible for an automatic fee exemption, the work must be at the person's permanent home and must be for either of the following purposes:

  • to make access to the building
  • to provide accommodation or facilities that will improve the health, safety, welfare or convenience of the person

Work will not be exempt if we find there is already existing space that could be used instead for the same purpose.

Contact us to check whether your project will be exempt. We will need to see proof of the disability, for example, a copy of a blue badge or a doctor's letter.

You can only get the exemption if a local authority does the building regulations work - private approved inspectors cannot offer this.

Help and advice

We can offer pre-application advice for larger, complex or non-domestic projects to help you prepare your application. You can discuss issues with us such as:

  • how deep you need to dig for foundations (we will come on site if you dig a test hole)
  • the type of construction
  • the standard of materials needed
  • basic calculations (for example, for beams) that are too minor to need a structural engineer

Call 01270 375256 or email building control@cheshireeast.gov.uk.

Home owner's guide to extensions

You can find lots of useful information about points to consider when planning an extension or conversion in our Home owner's guide to extensions. Topics coved include planning permission, building regulations, construction issues, and choosing builders and other experts.

Apply for building regulations approval

It's easy to get started. You can phone, apply online, or email or post your form.

Apply for building regulations approval