Unit Overview

P5 - Approval Procedures

Criteria - explain the approval procedures used in building control


Building regulations are mainly concerned with the safety of the building, unlike planning which is to do with the look and function of the building.


Like planning building regulations are controlled by the local authority (Building Control Department), but unlike planning they can sometimes be looked after by an approved inspector on behalf of the local authority.


Building regulations will look at things like the materials a building is proposing, to make sure they are fire resistant and strong enough to support the structure. They will also consider hygiene, for example you can not have a toilet without a sink that opens onto a kitchen. The design of the building should be safe to access, this will include the size or doors and the pitch of steps.


More recently building regulations have also taken into account the environmental impact of a building, so the U-values of walls and windows will need to be up to standard.

Applying for approval.

Full Plans Submission

This is where detailed drawings are submitted to the building control office, the building officer will examine the drawings and either approve or reject them. In the case of a rejection it is normally because enough information has not been supplied.

The building inspector will then visit the site to check that the building is being built in accordance with the approved plans. The principle contractor or project manager will need to let the building officer know when they are getting to certain points of the build so that inspection can happen without slowing the build down.

The inspector will want to see things that will not always be obvious once construction has been completed.


More information on those stages can be found here.


Building Notice

If you are unsure of your design or may make some design changes along the way a building notice can be used. In this case there is no need to submit drawings, but you still follow the same stages of inspection.

This process is slightly more costly, and can lead to delays if the inspector is not happy with the work you undertaken.


Approved Inspectors

Under the 1984 Building Act, powers were granted for private companies to undertake building inspection work on behalf of the local authority. It is up to the local authority whether they undertake the work themselves or an approved inspector. This work has been carried out by NHBC approved inspectors, but from October 2005 other private companies or individuals can register with CIC to become approved inspectors.


More information on approved inspectors can be found here


Powers of Inspectors

A local authority building control officer force a contractor to comply with any of the approved documents.

They can serve a 28 day notice, of this contractor does not put right any faults with the building the local authority have the powers to undertake the work themselves and charge the works to the client.

The Building Control Officer can also take immediate action such as stopping all works on site where they feel there may be immediate danger, and either have the works put right or the building demolished.

Approved inspectors have the right to enter a property where they think the works may not be in following the approved documents and obtain a warrant if entry is refused.


Planning Portal


Useful information about building regulations