Distinction between Planning Permission and Building Regulations

Although most people realise a permission in some form is necessary for works or alterations to properties, Planning Permission and Building Regulations are often confused. Both are the responsibility of the Local Authority and basically:

Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.

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 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