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Building control guidance and information

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 the Ask Anna service to submit your own general question.

Duty Holders

For more information of your duties and competence requirements for design and building work under The Building Regulations please visit the Government's guidance on Design and Building Work requirements

Useful Templates

During the Building Control process certain documents are required. The list below are forms available for you to complete to assist with the process.

You should check your site inspection log for the list of documents you need to fill in by project completion.  This could include:

Do I need Permission?

Check if you need permissionsInsulation

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.

What happens if I do not comply with building regulations?

The local authority needs to see that building work complies with regulations. Sometimes building work has been completed without the correct procedures being followed. This can cause problems when the property is sold.

If you or a previous owner carried out work without obtaining permission, you may be able to apply to have this approved retrospectively. This is called a regularisation.
Find out more on our making an application pageThis is only possible for work carried out on or after the 11 November 1985. You’ll be asked for plans and calculations to show what was done and the work will be inspected. Please be aware that you may be asked to open up various areas of the building. This is so the surveyor can check things that have been covered up like beams, pipes and insulation. If everything appears to meet the regulations that were in place at the time the work was carried out, you’ll receive a Regularisation Certificate.

Further information is available in the guidance document below: 

Regularisation Guidance Note

Building Close to Neighbours and the Party Wall Act

The Council is not able to provide advice about Party Wall issues but you can find guidance on the LABC website.

LABC Party Wall information

The Party Wall Act is civil legislation where you can find more information on the Government website.

Party Wall information on .GOV.UK

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.

View the holiday lets information

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.

GOV.UK competent person schemes

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 Radon Maps website.

Radon maps website

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). 

South West Water (SWW) website

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 Approve Document H.

View the 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.

Use the Water Efficiency Calculator tool

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 Health and Safety Executives (HSE) website.

Visit the HSE website

For compliments, comments and complaints about building control please visit:

Feedback and complaints

Competent Person Schemes

Some works can be carried out under a Competent Person Scheme.

Find out about 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.

Who can help with issues on a project overseen by a Registered Building Control Approver?

Building Regulations can be overseen by the Local Authority or a private company. Private companies are also known as Registered Building Control Approvers. Cornwall Council Building Control (CCBC) is the Local Authority.

Registered Building Control Approver applications end with IN. You can find the Application Number on the Online Register.

Visit the online registerThe Council has to hold a register of which provider is dealing with which site.

When the developer choses to use a private company, by law CCBC are not able to help with any issues. This includes issues on site or after completion of the development.

If the property is complete you may be able to get help from the new home warranty provider. We do not hold a record of warranty providers. You should have a record of the warranty provider from your house purchase.

If the Registered Building Control Approvers doesn't resolve your issues you can raise issues with CICAIR.

CICAIR are the body that oversee the licence of Registered Building Control Approvers.

Visit the CICAIR websitePlease note: Many typical ‘snagging’ issues may not be controlled under the building regulations.

Further help may be available from the New Homes Ombudsman

New Homes Ombudsman website

Avoiding Rogue Traders

For information on avoiding rouge traders, Trading Standards provide advice on how to avoid Rogue Traders.

They also suggest using the Buy with Confidence Scheme which provides people in Cornwall with a list of local businesses which have given their commitment to trading fairly. Every business listed has undergone a series of detailed checks by Trading Standards officers before being approved as a member of the scheme to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.

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