The differences between Building Regulations and planning permission

Most people realise that they may need approval for their proposed building work but they do not always understand the difference between building regulations and planning permission.

Building Regulations and planning permission are separate pieces of legislation.

It is likely that applicants will have to make applications for both Building Regulation consent and Town Planning Permission.

Building Regulations

Building Regulations deal mainly with health and safety matters in the interest of the people who will use the building.

In simple terms:

Building Regulations are concerned with how a building is constructed with particular reference to:

  • structural stability
  • fire safety
  • site preparation and resistance to moisture
  • toxic substances
  • sound resistance
  • ventilation
  • hygiene
  • drainage and waste disposal
  • heat producing appliances
  • protection from falling, collision and impact
  • conservation of fuel and power
  • access and facilities for disabled people
  • glazing safety
  • electrical safety

These are legal requirements but provided that the correct technical standards are met the approval should be straightforward. The council's Building Control Officers deal with Building Regulation applications.

Planning permission

Planning permission deals with the use of land, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment. Officers of the council's Town Planning Services deal with planning applications and also listed buildings, conservation areas and tree preservation orders.

If planning permission is required it may sometimes be wise to wait until that permission is granted before proceeding to submit a building regulation application.You can find out more about planning here.

Updated: 20 September 2013