Building control guidance and information

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

Construction is becoming more technical. We aim to help you negotiate the requirements of the building regulations.  You may need an architect or agent to design your scheme. They will provide you with the detailed drawings and specification. Planning drawings do not normally show enough technical details.

The Building Regulations 2010 and ‘Approved Documents’ give construction guidance.  This includes subjects such as:

  • structures
  • fire safety
  • drainage
  • insulation

Planning and Building Control: What is the difference?  

Are you planning a home improvement project?

Check out the LABC Front Door website for advice on home improvements, including:

  • Plumbing including adding new bathrooms
  • Heating
  • Loft conversions
  • Work shops and sheds
  • Extensions
  • Removing a wall
  • Replacing windows
  • Working with builders and designers

The site has been developed by LABC.

LABC represent all local authority building control teams in England and Wales.

LABC Front Door have put together a list of frequently asked questions about home improvement projects. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for you can use their Ask Anna service to submit your own question.

Do I need Permission?

To check if you need permissions 


Insulation is key to reducing the need for heating in properties. Government grants may be available to improve energy efficiency

Further information on U values requirements are available in Approved Document L.

Manufacturers websites provide details of products and levels of insulation provided.

Building Close to Neighbours and the Party Wall Act

The Council is not able to provide advice about Party Wall issues. The Party Wall Act is civil legislation where you can find more information.

Holiday lets

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to all accommodation for paying guests. If you provide AirBnB or rented self catering accommodation or B&B you can find out how to comply on the holiday lets page.

Wood Burning Appliances

Wood burning appliances are best installed by a competent installer. The work is then covered under one of the competent person schemes. If you choose not to use a competent person you will need to apply for Building Regulation Approval.

As part of the application you will need to provide a signed copy of the checklist found in Approved Document J.

Further guidance on the installation of solid fuel stoves:


Radon is a colourless, odourless gas which is radioactive. It is formed within the ground where uranium and radium are present. It moves through cracks and fissures within the subsoil into the atmosphere. Or spaces under and in dwellings. Where radon occurs in high concentrations it can be a risk to your health. Exposure to high levels of radon may increase the risk of developing lung cancer. The granite bedrock in Cornwall increases the risk of radon in homes. There is a chance that the level of radon within dwellings could be unacceptably high. To reduce the risk all new buildings need to incorporate precautions against radon.  You can find more information on radon on the BRE website or radon maps.

Building over sewers

If your proposed development will be within 3 metres of a public sewer, including lateral drains. You will need to gain permission from South West Water (SWW)

Non mains drainage

If you are unable to connect to a SWW sewer you may need non mains drainage. The Building Regulations lists the priority of connections. You should connect to a SWW sewer if it is within 30m. The second priority is a connection to a private sewer. If this is not practical, you can install either a septic tank or waste water treatment plant. The final option and fourth priority is the provision of a cesspool.

Septic tanks

Septic tanks and treatment tanks need a drainage field. These can take up a significant amount of space. They need to be away from dwellings. The drainage field also needs to be away from wells, boreholes or other drainage fields. You must carry out a percolation test to determine the extent of soakaway required. The ground may not be appropriate for a drainage field.  Further details of requirements can be found in Approved Document H  

Water efficiency

New homes should be designed to limit the amount of water used in the property. The design water efficiency of 125 litres/person/day. You can use the ‘fittings’ based approach from G2. Approved Document G. Or we will need you to provide a calculation. You can use the  Water Efficiency Calculator tool.

Do I need Building Regulations?

Health and Safety Executive

If you are having construction or refurbishment work done you may need to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). You may have other duties as well. More information is available on the HSE website.

For compliments, comments and complaints about building control please visit our Listening and Learning page.

Competent Person Schemes

Some works can be carried out under a competent person schemes (CPS).

The Council maintain a register of works carried out under the competent person scheme.  We do not hold copies of Competent Person Scheme certificates.



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