Building Regulations (also known as Building Control) are a set of standards set by the UK Government to ensure that buildings are structurally safe, meet the UK’s energy efficiency goals and can withstand the demands of a changing future.

If you’re a self-builder, your forever home is just a pipe dream unless it meets these key specified standards. In short, a self-build project can’t come into fruition until you’ve applied for building regulations and received approval. This Q&A blog delves deeper into building regulations, so read on to find out more.

 

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

Building regulations approval is different from being granted planning permission. The conditions of planning permission are subjective and based upon a series of factors including design, environmental health, and local neighbourhood perception, which varies for each local authority.

Unlike planning approval, building regulations are objective, which can be denied or accepted based on a number of factors. Regulatory compliance is achieved by meeting exact standards and there is limited wiggle room.

 

What factors do building regulations cover?

The requirements vary in England, Wales and Scotland, but in England and Wales you can expect cover for everything from drainage and waste disposal, sanitation and hot water supplies, and ventilation, to site preparation and accessibility and energy conservation. Aspects such as materials and workmanship, fire safety and electrical safety are also covered.

 

What is the approval process?

Ensuring your home meets self-build regulations is a vital part of your self-build project.

In contrast to planning permission, building regulations approval is a pass or fail examination. In order to pass and gain the completion certificate (proof that building work has been inspected by building control and is safe), your building will be inspected by a competent building control surveyor.

For the majority of the projects, we work on, we help homeowners with the ‘full plans’ building regulations application, with decisions typically being made within two months.

For the majority of these applications, the building control team will check and ‘approve’ the plans before work starts on site. All drawings and specifications must be submitted – going down this route reduces the risk of contravening the regulations and helps avoid costly delays further down the line.

 

 

 

How do I apply and what are the costs?

If you need to check building regulations or apply for approval you must contact a building control body (BCB), which we can guide you on. There are two types in England and Wales.

  1. Local Authority BCB – your local council. They usually require an online application. Application fees depend on property type, floor area and the nature of the work.
  2. Private BCB – private approved inspectors. They are also able to inform the local authorities on the building work which is known as an ‘initial notice’. Fees are negotiable.

 

How will the authorities know that my build actually meets the regulations?

Once you have finished your self-build project, Building Control will inspect your building. All being well, your building will pass and receive a certificate within eight weeks. This certificate is a vital document securing building insurance, for re-mortgaging your home, or for proving the value of the home if it sold in future. This practice covers homes since 2013.

 

Frame Technologies can help

Frame Technologies can help  you with your Building Regulations application. If you’ve purchased a plot with planning permission, we can take the drawings you received with your purchased plot and prepare your Building Regulations application and submit it to a private building control company for a fixed fee.

Where planning legislation dictates, Frame Technologies can offer Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) and SAP calculations. Onsite work should not commence until the ‘as designed’ calculations have been submitted to Building Control. Upon completion, an ‘as built’ assessment and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will also need to be submitted to Building Control.

As well as this our experts offer industry-leading advice on achieving excellent BREEAM ratings and improving Dwelling Emission Rates (DER).

At Frame Technologies we also offer a highly popular Building Regulations Drawing service for a fixed fee. At this stage we can value engineer the project, saving you project costs in the long-term. Combining this service with the SAP calculations service we also provide ensures that self-builders will live in the most energy efficient and airtight home they aspire for.

What building method should I choose?

Regulating methods and materials used in construction ensures that self-build projects are safe, and so choosing the right building method is crucial in the early stages of your build.

At Frame Technologies we advocate the use of timber: with it, you can future-proof your home, ensure good levels of energy efficiency, and build with the most sustainable material on the market.

Using sustainable materials is a core component of meeting building regulations. Timber provides the lowest embodied carbon of any building material whilst being fully organic and naturally renewable. Building with timber frame means you’ll be able to meet current and future building regulations.

In June 2022, important new Building Regulation changes were introduced for new homes built in England and we detailed these changes, here.

We offer three unique timber frame systems, part of our TechVantage™ Systems series, and we can discuss the benefits and suitability for each one when going through the building regulations process. The systems’ high performance has the ability to exceed building regulations through supplying effective techniques to reduce air leakage and meet Passive House standards. Good airtightness or reducing unplanned air movement through the building envelope is an important aspect of the overall energy performance of your self-build project. This means your new home should see a reduction in energy bills throughout the lifetime of the building, which is a great way to ensure your home is future-proof.

We are also able to provide guidance on further ways you can create a carbon-neutral house, including solar panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers. For more information on what TechVantage Systems™ can provide for your home and how they can exceed building regulations, click here.

Get in touch

Please get in touch with us for any help or guidance you require about the building regulations process, or to request more information about the services we have mentioned.