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Regulations / standards

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Permissions and regulations

If you are embarking on a selfbuild project the two main permissions you will most often require for building work in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are Planning Permission and Building Regulations consent.

In Scotland the regulations for building are known as the Building Standards

Planning Permission deals with the overall issue of what kind of houses are permissible in which area. The planning officers are employed by the local council.

Building Regulations and Building Standards deal with whether the building is built properly and is safe and energy efficient etc. The building inspectors are either employed by the local council or are private companies approved to do the work. You can choose which you want to use. It is normal to get planning permission before building regs approval because if there is a problem with planning permissionthen it might affect the building regs drawings, although an architect will tend to develop both at the same time.

It is quite likely that if you are employing an architect or building consultant or someone else to do your drawings and design work that they will handle the drawing and form-filling necessary to obtain planning permission and building regulation consent. However it is useful to have an understanding of what is going on.

See the  English government Planning Portal site which deals with both Planning consent and Building Regulations.

Wales has been undergoing a transfer of powers. See the current situation regarding Building Regulations.

Northern Ireland has its own Building Regulations


The regulations regarding outbuildings such as garden sheds are often contained in local council bye-laws rather than being part of the national Building Regulations or planning consent so it is worth checking these out early in the design process. Contact the local council to find out more


We joined the European Community in 1973 and since then British Standards have been slowly harmonising with European standards. It’s still happening…….see more


quite soon……….

it may all be reversed. Thanks to Brexit. Take a look at any document charting the recent changes. Take for example this page from the Scottish Building Standards. It’s taken 43 years to get this far and it’s still in progress. Maybe it will take another 43 years to reverse it. Who knows?

The point being that you can’t simply roll it back to how it was because technology has moved on. Do we invent a new set of building standards or do we pseudo-harmonise with the EU ones? (and are we at the table where decisions are made about these standards?)

Haha, – Front row seats please to watch confusion and chaos.


3 comments to Regulations / standards

  • Gill Duquemin

    We have put in for planning permission for a a 2 bed log cabin, logs from Canada, the council want us to submit a energy statement, I have found out the U Values of the logs (0.037) the windows and frames efficiency but I cant find out what the planning requirements are for the insulation, I was going to put in 120mm Celotex under the floor (not a solid floor)and 120mm wool or fibre glass would this meet the requirements?and what would be the U Values?

  • Timbo

    Hi Chris,

    Totally agree, we currently reside within a 1904 army barracks, there is a retention on the mortgage which is financially crippling us with regard to having to insulate the property.
    This is required to be in thermofleece but building regs refute the known stats for the hydroscopic properties of this and say to meet dew point regs we require 7″ of insulation in the 4″ timber walls(do the maths).
    As a get out of jail free we are considering building again in timber but just can’t get any of the shelf plans that guarantee to meet building regs.
    We know what we want, and I’m pretty sure planning would ok it but having already wasted hundreds of pounds fighting institutionalised(think thats how you spell it) stupity just don’t want to risk flushing more of the hard earned folding stuff down the route

    So if anyone has any contacts that could give advise as to how to comply with building regs can they please suppy them as reading the rules online made my head hurt.

  • chris

    All well and good, but what to do if you can’t afford to pay extra fees to architects and designers to go negotiate with council and building regs, as is often the case! This is a self-build site isn’t it? How do we do it ourselves?

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