What is the Difference Between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?

In the United Kingdom, homeowners and developers will generally need a form of permission when carrying out major building work or alterations to their properties.

This page will explain the differences between planning permission and building regulations approval. We’ll also delve into “permitted developments”, that’s the new buzz word for home improvements you can complete without planning permission.

Planning Permission

Planning permission covers the size, location and design of extensions and major alterations.

Landscaping considerations, road access and the overall impact the development will have on the surrounding area are all considered before an application is approved.

Changing a property from a private dwelling into a business premises is also covered by planning permission.

In general, planning permission covers the appearance of the build and how it affects the area.

Examples of when planning permission is usually required:

  • Constructing a loft conversion with front aspect roof dormer (because its visible from the street).
  • Building any type of extension or garage in a front garden.
  • Building any type of extension that is higher than the height of the original house.

Permitted Developments

“Permitted developments” is the latest buzzword for alterations and extensions that don’t require planning permission provided the work is completed according to strict criteria.

Here’s some example of what you do under your permitted development rights:

  • Construct a loft conversion with a rear facing dormer and Velux roof windows to the front aspect.
  • Building a small extension to the rear or side of a building, provided set criteria is adhered to.
  • Conservatories in rear gardens subject to conditions.

Building Regulations

The building regulations are a set of rules that dictate how a build should be constructed.

The regulations focus on safety, accessibility, the performance and suitability of the materials used by the developer and also the construction techniques used.

How To Determine If Your Project Requires Planning Permission or Building Regulations Notification

If you’re not sure whether your project needs prior planning permission or building regulations notification, you can use the planning portal website which was created by the government.

Just select your project from the list and explore the planning permission or building regulation requirements:

Planning Portal – Planning and Regulations Checker

We’ve also created a nifty guide to six home improvements you can do without planning permission.

Apply for Planning Permission and Building Regulations Notification

If the project falls within your rights under the permitted development route, you do not need to submit planning permission or gain planning approval.

You will still need to ensure all the work is carried out in accordance with the building regulations and your local authority is notified of the work.

How to Notify Your Local Authority

Planning permission (if required) can be gained after sending an application to your local council, most will provide the option to apply via their website.

For building regulations approval, you can either notify the local authority yourself and pay a fee or use the services of an approved “competent person” contractor who is able to self-certify that their work is in line with the regulations.