Check if you need building regulations approval

You must apply for approval for the following building works:

  • The erection of a new building
  • The extension of an existing building, for example, a kitchen extension or loft conversion
  • Structural alterations to an existing building, for example underpinning, removal or alteration of load bearing walls, removal of a chimney
  • Alterations which may affect the means of escape in case of fire, for example, changes of layout, changing the use of rooms, alterations to fire doors
  • Changing the use of an existing building, for example, converting a house to flats or a shop to an office
  • The extension or alteration of certain services and fittings, for example, new drainage, installing hot or cold water service, installing boilers and wood burners, replacing windows if the fitter is not a member of an appropriate competent persons scheme
  • Some electrical work
  • Renovating or replacing a wall, floor or roof, for example, replacing a roof, re-tiling a roof, replacing a floor, re-plastering substantial areas
  • Changes to a buildings energy status. This might happen where a previously unheated space is being heated or where air conditioning is being installed.

You can find more information on the LABC front door website.


To help you to gain building regulations approval more easily, the government have allowed certain trade bodies to self-certify their members work and to issue Building Regulations Certificates. These are called Competent Person Schemes.

Further information on the Competent Person Schemes is available on the Government website.

Tips for using self-certified contractors:

  • Always ensure the contractor is registered for the work they are undertaking, for example, if you are having a new heating system installed ensure the contractor is a registered installer not a service engineer
  • Always ensure that at the end of the job the contractor issues you with a certificate confirming that the work complies with the building regulations, you may need this when you come to sell your property
  • If you are in any doubt about anything, contact either the relevant trade association or contact the Building Control Team.

Works that are exempt from building regulations

The following list gives advice on exempt buildings. However, if you require written confirmation on your individual project please complete the exempt enquiry form. There is a charge of £96.00, including VAT to pay for this confirmation. This can be paid over the telephone or an online link payment will be sent to you when the enquiry form is received online.

Complete an exempt building enquiry online

Alternatively, download and complete the exempt building enquiry form (PDF)

The works listed below are generally exempt from building regulations, although there may be exceptions in certain circumstances:

Types of building Description
Buildings not frequented by people ​

  • These are detached buildings, into which persons do not normally go or only go intermittently to inspect plant and machinery.
  • The exemption applies only if the building is sited at least one and a half times its height either from the boundary or from any point of a building into which people can or normally go. 
Greenhouses and Agricultural Buildings ​  
  • Greenhouses are only exempt providing they are not used for retailing, packing or exhibiting.
  • Agricultural buildings and buildings principally for keeping animals are exempt if they are not used as a dwelling, are at least one and a half times their height from any building where there is sleeping accommodation and have a fire exit not more than 30m from any point in a building.  
Temporary Buildings  
  • ​Those which remain erected for less than 28 days.  
​Ancillary Buildings ​  
  • Building site offices containing no sleeping accommodation.
  • Estate sales buildings.
  • Buildings other than dwellings or offices used in connection with a mine or quarry.   
Small Detached Buildings ​  
  • Single storey buildings under 30m2 floor area, containing no sleeping accommodation, constructed substantially of non-combustible material, or sited at least one metre from the boundary, e.g. detached single garage or shed.
  • A detached building, having a floor area not more than 15m2, with no sleeping accommodation, can be constructed of any material.
  • No heating or cooling systems installed.
​Crown Property  
  • ​Crown property is exempt from the Building Regulations.   
Extensions to Buildings ​  
  • Covered Yard Less than 30 square metres in area.
  • Covered Way Less than 30 square metres in area.
  • Car Ports Must be open on at least two sides; the ends can be counted as sides and doors/windows are allowed between the house and car port; less than 30 sq metres floor area.
  • Conservatories Gross internal floor area less than 30 square metres; at ground level.; at least 50% of new walls are of a transparent or translucent material; at least 75% of the roof is of a transparent or translucent material; it must be separated from the habitable parts of the dwelling by external quality windows/doors; any glazing below 1500mm in height in doors or within 300mm of a door must be toughened/laminated glass or polycarbonate; any glazing below 800mm in height must be toughened/laminated glass or polycarbonate; any heating or cooling systems must have independent controls/thermostat.
  • Porches Gross internal floor area less than 30 square metres; it must be separated from the habitable parts of the dwelling by external quality windows/doors; any heating or cooling systems must have independent controls/thermostat. 

Builders and contractors who regularly use local authority building control

Please find a list of builders and contractors (PDF), who prefer to work with Swindon Building Control, providing mutual knowledge in identifying and resolving constraints early, potentially saving both time and money on the project.

These are not to be considered as recommendations by the Local Authority.

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