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.
- fire safety
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
- Loft conversions
- Work shops and sheds
- 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.
Do I need Permission?
To 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.
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. This 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 on what happens if you fail to comply with the building regulations.
Building Close to Neighbours and the Party Wall Act
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 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:
- Guide to installing solid fuel stoves
- How to test the safety and efficiency of flues and chimneys
- British Flue and Chimney Manufacturers Association: General Guidance on the selection and installation of flues and chimneys.
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.
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).
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 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
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.
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.