Planning, building and the environment

Building Regulations

Communities and Local Government is responsible for national policy on building regulations, which exist principally to ensure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in and around buildings, and the water and energy efficiency of buildings. The regulations apply to most new buildings and many alterations of existing buildings in England and Wales, whether domestic, commercial or industrial.

Building regulations, which are made under powers provided in the Building Act 1984 and apply in England and Wales, are mainly found in The Building Regulations 2000 (as amended) and The Building (Approved Inspectors) Regulations 2000 (as amended), which can be found in the Legislation section. The legislation covers both the technical standards that need to be met and the procedures that need to be followed.

This Department is also responsible for the authorisation, and monitoring, of Competent Person Schemes. These Schemes apply to a variety of specified types of building work. Members of these Schemes have been assessed as competent to self-certify that work they carry out which is covered by the Scheme, complies with the building regulations. Further information can be found in the Competent Person Schemes section.

Building Control

The main function of Building Control is to ensure compliance with the building regulations. This function is carried out by a Building Control Body (BCB), either the local authority building control service or a private sector Approved Inspector (AI).  Certain types of building work can be self-certificated as compliant with building regulations by a member of a Competent Person Scheme without the need to notify a BCB.

The general advice is to always discuss your proposals with the relevant BCB before starting any building work. Local authorities have a duty to implement and enforce building regulations within their own areas, so if you have a general enquiry about the regulations you should firstly contact your local authority.

To find out more about your responsibilities and how to get approval - follow the links on the right hand side in 'On Other Sites'  section.  

Please note: The inspections which BCBs undertake should not be confused with full site supervision. Inspections are only carried out at certain stages of the building work. Completion certificates or final certificates, which local authorities or Approved Inspectors respectively issue, are therefore not a guarantee or warranty for the building work that has been carried out.

The following links/publications should help you understand the Building Control system:

  • for a simple visual guide (external link) relating building regulations to household building projects you can visit the Planning Portal website which is a one-stop source of information on all planning and building regulations matters
  • the Department has published The Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet. It provides an introduction to the Building Regulations in England and Wales only, and can be found below in the Related Publications section
  • guidance on how to meet the functional requirements of the Building Regulations, is contained in the Building Regulations - Approved Documents (external link). The latest versions can be downloaded for free in Adode PDF format from the Planning Portal website

To find out about building regulations policies:

  • the latest building regulations publications relating to consultations, impact assessments, policy, manuals and booklets can be found under the Publications section on the left hand side. The Department also publishes a number of research reports to help provide scientific support for building regulations policies and all such research reports can be found in the Building Regulation Research section 
  • to explain new and altered building regulations policy and legislation, the Department publishes departmental Circulars and Circular Letters which provide further guidance to Building Control Bodies and are available in the Circulars and Circular Letters section

If you are carrying out building work and have difficulity reaching agreement with your Building Control Body on the work required to achieve compliance with the requirements of the building regulations, there are two procedures - Determinations and Appeals - within the Building Act 1984 that can be used to resolve the dispute. Further information, including a guide and copies of previous decision letters are available in the Determinations and Appeals section. Latest decision letters can also be found in the Related Publications section below.

Other Departmental Responsibilities 

This Department is the sponsoring department for the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC), an advisory non-departmental public body, which provides technical advice and views to the Department on a broad range of issues relating to the building regulations. Annual Reports, minutes and papers of meetings, and other information can found in the BRAC section.

This Department is also the sponsoring department for the Architects Registration Board (ARB), which is a statutory body responsible for the registration of architects, and further information on ARB is available in the Government liasion with architects section.

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