Building Regulation guidance notes and application forms

This page provides guidance on what details may need to be given to the Building Control Service when undertaking building work.

Building regulations application form

Please find our new digital application form under our apply for it section or visit our building regulations application form page. You will find guidance within the form, or for more information please read the below.

What are building regulations?

  • Building Regulations set minimum performance standards in the design and construction of buildings, to ensure the health and safety of people in and around those buildings.
  • They also incorporate measures to conserve fuel and power, and to ensure that access and facilities for all are provided.

Why are building regulations applications necessary?

  • It is the legal responsibility of a person who intends to carry out building work or to make a material change of use to seek Building Regulation certification.

When is an application required?

An application needs to be submitted when you intend to:

  • Erect a building, e.g. new dwelling or non-domestic buildings
  • Extend an existing building, e.g. kitchen extension, attached garage etc.
  • Make alterations to a building, e.g. remove a load bearing wall or a chimney stack, or form an opening in a structural or fire-protecting wall
  • Underpin all or part of a building
  • Convert a loft, e.g. make a new room in the roof space
  • Install services and fittings, e.g. installing showers and toilets, or replacement glazing, Central Heating Systems, boilers, flues, renewable energy systems, laying new drains or altering electrics. (Some of these may be controlled under competent persons schemes)
  • Change the use of a building, e.g. convert a house to flats or make more than one dwelling.
  • Erect a large conservatory, e.g. floor area greater than 30m2 (a conservatory less than 30m2 is exempt provided at least 75% of the roof and 50% of the walls are of translucent material and is thermally separated from the dwelling by walls, windows and doors with U-values and draught stripping provision at least as good as elsewhere in the dwelling and the heating system of the dwelling is not extended into the conservatory.)
  • Carry out work to thermal elements, eg. re-plastering, replacement roof (even if this only a new or replacement "felt"), external rendering/cladding or new ground floor.
  • Make alterations or extensions to commercial premises, schools, hospitals etc
  • Carry out work to improve access to and/or provide facilities for disabled people

NB. Some Building work is exempt from the Building Regulations. See our Building Regulations exemptions page for more information.

When should an application be submitted?

An application needs to be submitted before work commences on site - preferably a minimum of one week in advance. 

What happens if the work has already been carried out?

Regularisation Certificates may be used to obtain approval for work that has been carried out since 11th November 1985 and was not subject to a Building Regulations Application at the time. This situation can become apparent when the property is being sold and the omission is discovered during a Solicitor's enquiry. Upon request, we inspect the property and, at our discretion, may accept a Regularisation Certificate Application. If we accept your application, we will report to you any areas of the work that do not meet the Regulations. In order to do this we may have to ask you to open up some parts of the building for inspection. Some areas of the work may have to be altered to meet the Regulations. Once we are satisfied with the work we will then issue you with a certificate. Currently, the charges payable are 120% of the normal charge for the work, however VAT is not payable in this case.

Download: Regularisation Certificate

Who submits the application?

You may submit the application yourself or you may engage someone to do it for you. If an agent is employed correspondence will usually be directed to them.

How do I submit an application?

There are two main ways of obtaining Building Regulations certification: a Full Plans application, or a Building Notice. The following notes explain the main differences between the methods and additional methods for certain circumstances.

Full Plans Method

  • You will need to provide detailed plans and a specification of the project, including a location plan with the site boundaries clearly marked.
  • In certain circumstances, e.g. when using steel beams to support floors or walls, structural calculations will be required.
  • The plans will then be checked to ensure the proposal meets the building regulations and we will contact you if we have any queries. You should programme the work to allow enough time to prepare the plans and for us to process them
  • When we are confident that your plans comply with the building regulations we will send you an approval Notice and you will then have the benefit of working with approved plans.
  • We are obliged by legislation to decide your application within 5 weeks (or 2 months by agreement) of deposit. If we are unable to approve your application within the time available, a procedural rejection of the application will need to be issued pending a subsequent approval
  • Once you have deposited an application, you can start work if you have given 2 days notice but until your Plans are approved there is a risk that you may have to alter some of the work if it is seen subsequently not to comply with Building Regulation requirements
  • The work on site will be inspected at various stages and following a satisfactory completion inspection we will issue a Completion Certificate.
  • The Approval Notice and Completion Certificates are important documents and should be kept with other details of the property

Building Notice Method

  • A detailed check of the submitted details is not carried out and no approval notice issued.
  • Location and site plans are required and more details may be requested if needed. You must provide them by the date given in any letter requesting further information.
  • Structural calculations may also be required.
  • You will be sent a letter informing you that your Building Notice has been registered, together with the reference number.
  • As with Full Plans, work can start once 2 days notice has been given.
  • The work will be inspected at various stages but you must remember that your builder will not have the benefit of an approved plan to work to and so there is a greater risk that you may have to alter some of the work. Consequently site inspections may be longer and more detailed. Building Work will be required to meet the same standards as the Full Plans method
  • Building Notices allow greater flexibility in the certification process and are well suited to simple jobs such as installing a new bathroom. They should be used with care for more complex projects.
  • As with a Full Plans application, we will issue a Completion Certificate upon satisfactory completion of the work.

Replacement Glazing Notice Method

  • Use this method when only replacing glazed doors or windows in a domestic property and the contractor or window installer is not registered with FENSA
  • This is a special Building Notice application and the process is similar to that outlined above, but it focuses on the appropriate information required for replacement glazing projects

Are there charges to pay?

Yes. With Full Plans, part of the charge is paid when the plans are deposited (Plan Charge) and an invoice will be sent for the remaining charge after the inspections commence (Inspection Charge) and before completion. With a Building Notice, the whole charge is paid when the Building Notice is submitted and amounts to 110% of the Full Plans charge. There is currently a fixed Building Notice Charge for replacement glazing in domestic properties. If the building works are solely for the benefit of disabled people then the application may be exempt from the charges.

  • Get more details about our charges.

For more details on exemptions for disabled persons, contact the Building Control team using the online form.

The Party Wall Act

If you are intending to carry out work, or within, close proximity to your neighbour's boundary or party walls, you will most likely have duties and obligations under the Party Wall Act. This is designed to resolve disputes, which may arise between neighbours when building work is carried out. The basic requirement of the Act is that you notify your neighbour of the intended work

The Party Wall Act is not administered by Building Control, further information can be obtained by visiting the Communities and Local Government website.

3C Shared Services guide to extending your property

If you would like to find out more information about extending your home then please visit our website: extendingyourhome.com/3csharedservices.

Contact Details

01480 388240

South Cambridgeshire District Council office

01223 457118

Cambridge City Council office