The Difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations Approval !


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Building a new house or extension can be a tricky process in terms of regulations. There are many concepts that you can be confused when you try to understand them.


The difference between planning permission and building regulations approval is one of these topics which is confusing. Homeowners, business owners, and property developers most of the time are confused about whether they need approval from the council for their building work.


To understand how the planning applications and building regulations (building control) are different from each other, please read this ultimate guide of Studio20 Architects that explains these regulations professionally.

What’s the difference between Building Regulations and Planning Permission?

Planning Permission and Building Regulations Approval (building control) are considered under different laws. There are situations that you need both planning permission and building regulations approval (building control), and sometimes you need none of them.


Since planning permission and building regulations approval (building control) are part of different legislation, assuming that getting one permission grants another is wrong.

Planning permission comprises of the principles of development that assess whether the development will be suitable for the local and national policies and whether it would result in unexpected or unacceptable harm, e.g., to neighbors’ amenities.


On the other hand, building regulations monitors and helps with how to make changes to or build a property while it conforms to the latest standards of safety and workmanship and is signed-off by building inspectors.


Its rules are enforced by local authority building control departments. Building regulations exist to set national minimum standards for construction from structural stability of walls and roofs to fire safety and ventilation.


These rules are conducted to guarantee and preserve the safety of people in and around your property. Moreover, building regulations exist to ensure energy conservation.

Home extensions might require permissions from both local authority planning and building control departments, to put it another way, it might require both the planning permission and building control permission.


However, if it is small-scaled home extension projects, such as internal alterations, then it might only require building regulations approval. Therefore, before starting your home extension project, please do check with building regulations and whether you need approval from the local authority.

Do you need to make both applications for your project?


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What is Planning Permission?

Planning Permission is in force in order to fit any sort of landscaping considerations to the local environment. In other words, planning applications and permissions are there to avoid and restrict oversized extensions and any design that impairs the integrity of the area.


Therefore, planning permissions are mainly about the external appearance of the building.

Local Planning Authorities backed by the governments are managing where what and to what scale inhabitants can build on the land, and The Development Management team of Local Planning Authorities handle planning permission applications.


Planning permissions are mostly needed for the new builts and/or changes to the existing land. Though, not all areas have the same requirements in terms of planning permissions. Conservation areas and listed buildings have requirements that are specific to the area.


Therefore, consulting with an architecture company like Studio20Architects before starting the project might be beneficial for your project in the first place regarding the subjects such as whether you need planning permission. Send a message to us and we will check whether you need planning consent for your project.


Just keep in mind that both building regulations approval and planning permission is legally required and must be submitted to your local council before starting your project. Therefore, understanding whether you need these permissions for your project is very crucial since if you do not comply you could receive a fine from the local authorities.

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How to make a Planning Permission application?

One of the most important things when preparing a planning application is to ensure that all the forms and accurate scale drawings that are required are fully completed and submitted. Your application should include a full set of Planning Drawings, Design & Access Statement Report, and Duly Completed Application Form.


The drawings in the planning application should include all drawings that concern all the architectural features in your project including windows, materials, walls, doors, rooms, building, and ceiling heights.


Moreover, a Design and Access Statement report should be included in the planning application for most of the types of new developments or changes of uses. This is required to justify how to design standards and planning policies are met in your project.

When preparing planning applications never forget that the government’s national requirements might not be enough on their own.


For most of the areas, local councils have various local requirements regarding planning applications which might be specific to the type of build, the scale of the build, and the location of the build.


Therefore, checking everything beforehand is very crucial, your planning application should include all necessary information since if not, it might be not validated. In order to create a spotless planning application, you should seek professional help from an architect.


Even if you are a professional yourself, an architect or a planner may help you avoid major mistakes in your planning application and handle the complex technical issues associated with your planning application.

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What is Building Regulations (Building Control) approval?

Building regulations or building control stands for the standards that apply to all buildings to ensure the safety and healthy people living in and around the building.


Building regulations are a series of approved documents regarding the technical details of construction work. Whether the extension, change of us, new build, alterations, most of the new builds require the approval of the building regulations.

Examples of the coverage of the building regulations (building control):


Structural stability of a building.

Technical design standards for sanitary pipework and drainage.

Underpinning the foundations of a building. Correct Fire Safety measures including fire escapes.

Ensuring a building is water and weather tight.

Levels of sound insulation between buildings and rooms.

The design, installation, inspection, and testing of electrical installations.

The use of toxic substances in cavity fill insulation systems.

If you have hesitations concerning your project’s need for building control approval, please send us a message and we will check whether you need the building control approval.

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How to make a Building Regulations (Building Control) application?

Every local council in England has a building control department that deals with the compliance of the building projects to the building regulations.


There are two types of building controls, first is from the local authorities, second is allowing private approved inspectors to check the requirements for the Building Regulation approval.


Second is a recent introduction by the government. You may choose either of them for your building control! There are two different ways to make building regulations or building control applications.


First is by submitting a building notice notification, second is by applying to a full planning application that contains detailed plans and full specifications of the construction work with a convenience fee.


Using a building notice is also away when you are working on a simple project in a domestic building. Even though building notice applications do not usually require the submissions of the detailed plans or the specifications of the construction details, building notice does not give the reassurance that an approved plan would provide.


Whether you are converting your building, adding a basic extension, or renovating your whole house from zero, you will need a structural engineer! The structural engineers that work in the Studio20Architects team are proficient in preparing your structural drawings, calculations, and specifications for your Building Regulations/ Building control application.


The process of ensuring the project’s compliance with the building regulation is carried out at the site inspection stage. Please contact us beforehand to avoid any trouble!

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WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T APPLY FOR BUILDING REGULATIONS APPROVAL FOR MY EXTENSION?

If your converted building, extension, or renovated house is built with the absence of building regulations or building control approval, problems may arise! There are ways to gain retrospective approval, and this entails application for “regularisation”. Regularisation means that building control inspectors will look at your property to inspect the building. This inspection may involve making openings in ceilings and walls. If any defects are caught, you may have to carry out other works to comply during the regularisation application. Your local authority may prosecute and fine your building which does not comply with the regulations, therefore, applying beforehand is crucial!

How Studio20 Architects can help you with your planning and building regulations applications?

To conclude, Planning Permission concerns about the appearance of the proposed building/extension and the impact it will have on near areas whereas building control concerns with the technical and constructional details of the proposed building projects in order to guarantee the health and safety. Most of the building projects require both planning permission and building regulation approval. Therefore, making, preparing, and paying for two different applications separately is necessary. Studio20 Architects team practices planning permissions regularly and professionally, and for building control applications our team works with our partner structural engineers that also helps you deliver the project on time and on a budget!

If you want professional assistance regarding the process of both planning permission and building regulation applications, Studio20 Architects invites you to contact! Contact us and let’s discuss your proposal with our experienced residential architects before you make the planning application! If you have to apply for consent for both planning permission and building regulation, then we can prepare and submit both planning and building regulation applications to help you finish your project quicker!