Building regulations


If you are planning any building work, you may need to submit a Building Control application. This is to comply with the Building Regulations 2010. Please visit the Council's Building Control page. This contains help and guidance if you need to submit a building application:

If you are making minor alterations this may have a significant impact on your fire risk assessment. (For example, removing an internal door). It could allow internal fire spread that may have an impact if you have a fire.  If you need advice on minor works, email and we will be happy to help.

When a building application is completed, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service are provided with the details. The building application helps to ensure the fire safety in the premises is suitable and sufficient.

The types of places that are covered under the Fire Safety Order are:

  • Offices and shops
  • Factories and warehouses
  • Sleeping accommodation (hotels, bed and breakfast etc)
  • Educational premises
  • Residential care premises
  • Healthcare premises
  • Theatres, cinemas
  • Open air events and venues
  • Transport premises and facilities
  • Animal premises and stables

Note: This is not an exhaustive list

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service are only consulted on the fire safety aspect of Building Regulations. We are not the lead authority on Building Regulation.  The guidance we use to ensure the fire safety is suitable will depend upon what guidance the architect has used e.g. ‘Approved document B’ or BS:9999. For more complex buildings a fire engineered solution may be appropriate.

The approved documents are intended to provide guidance for some of the more common buildings situations. There may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements.

Our role is to ensure that when the building work is complete, the building will be compliant with the Fire Safety Order.

Approved Document ‘B’ - Buildings other than dwelling houses

The Approved Document ‘B’ (parts B1 to B5) is one of the guidance documents we may use to ensure compliance with the Fire Safety Order.  See below for an example of the areas that we would consider when reviewing a new building application.

B1 - Means of warning and escape

  • The building should be designed and constructed so that there are appropriate provisions for early warning of fire
  • Have appropriate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety outside the building

B2 - Internal fire spread (linings)

  • To inhibit the spread of fire within the building, the internal linings shall adequately resist fire spread of flame over their surfaces and have, if ignited, a rate of heat release or a rate of fire growth, which is reasonable in the circumstances.
  • In this paragraph ‘internal linings’ mean the materials or products used in lining any partition, wall, ceiling or other internal structure.

B3 – Internal fire spread (structure)

  • The building shall be designed and constructed so that, in the event of fire, its stability will be maintained for a reasonable period.
  • A wall common to two or more buildings shall be designed and constructed so that it adequately resists the spread of fire between those buildings.  For the purpose of this sub-paragraph a house in a terrace and a semi-detached house are each to be treated as a separated building.
  • Where reasonable necessary to inhibit the spread of fire within the building, measures shall be taken, to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building, comprising either or both of the following;

(a) Sub-division of the building with fire-resisting construction

(b) Installation of suitable automatic fire suppression systems

  • The building shall be designed and constructed so that the unseen spread of fire and smoke within concealed spaces in its structure and fabric is inhibited.

B4 - External fire spread

  • The external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building.
  • The roof of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the roof and from on building to another, having regard to the use and position of the building.

B5 - Access and facilities for the fire service

  • The building shall be designed and constructed so as to provide reasonable facilities to assist fire fighters in the protection of life.
  • Reasonable provision shall be made within the site of the building to enable fire appliances to gain access to the building.

Guidance for building control and approved inspectors

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service will seek to accommodate all formats of an application in the first instance.  However, the initial consultation and discussions with the building control officer or approved inspector may prove unsuccessful. In such cases, we will request that the application be provided in a format that can be assessed by the Service.

Guidance for plans and drawings

  • All plans and drawings should show the relevant scale bar and key dimensions
  • All drawings should specify the printing page size for which the scale applies (A3 size is preferred)
  • Plans should be clearly annotated with:
    • appropriate dimensions
    • corridor and stair widths
    • travel distances
    • exit widths
    • boundaries and space separation distances
    • vehicle access specifications
  • All drawings should be correctly orientated for display on screen
  • All drawings should be saved in single layers
  • Photograph files should be no larger than 15cm x 10cm.  No post processing/retouching to any original documents is acceptable

Acceptable file types and sizes

The maximum file size for submission by email is 6MB.  We can also accept CD-R submissions but not flash drives. This is due to the security measures established by Cornwall Council.

  • PDF is preferred for plans, images, photographs and supporting documents
  • Plans, images, photographs can be also be supplied as .jpeg, .tiff, .png
  • Text information and spreadsheets can also be supplied as .doc, .rtf, .txt, .docx, .xls, .xlsx
  • Please make sure file names are clear and self-descriptive

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service