The Federation of Master Builders

Building Regulations

Building regulations and planning: the basics

Building regulations sign off and planning permission are different sets of regulations put in place for different purposes. You may often need to get both for your project. This is an overview to the basics of both and where you need to go to get more information.

  • Building Regulations are the minimum legal standards for building work.
  • They apply to design, construction and extension of all buildings.
  • Remember, Building Regulations are different in England, Wales (though English and Welsh regulations are very similar), Scotland and Northern Ireland. Please see below for further details.
  • In England, Building Regulations are set down in 15 parts (Parts A to Q) covering various aspects of building from structure (Part A) and fire safety (Part B), to electrical safety (part P) and security (part Q).


Sign off and approval

  • You will need Building Regulations sign off for any new building or extension work and you will also need approval for many alteration projects.
  • See the Planning Portal for more information about whether you will need approval for over 50 common projects.
  • You won’t need to get approval if the work is carried out by a builder registered with a competent person scheme.
  • If Building Regulations sign off is required then a building control body will check the building regulations or seek approval. This will be either your local authority building control or a private approved inspector. There are different rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Approved Documents

The Government publishes Approved Documents which set out the performance of materials and building works required to meet Building Regulations and practical examples and solutions as to how to ensure compliance. The Approved Documents for England can be found on


Further Details

Wales: for more information see here, and the Approved Documents for Wales are available here.

Scotland: find more information about Scotland’s Building Standards can be found here, and technical handbooks here.

Northern Ireland: for more information see here, and the technical booklets can be found here.


Planning approval

Visit the Planning Portal website to see if planning approval is required.

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