Porch, Northampton
Renovating a property is an exciting journey, but it comes with a range of regulations and permissions you will need to navigate. When doing most building work or altering a property, a form of permission is required. However, when it comes to Building Regulations and Planning Permission, it can be hard to know the difference. While they may seem similar, they serve distinct purposes in ensuring the safety, sustainability, and aesthetic harmony of our built environment. 
Disclamer: Building regulations are no longer a necessity for conservatory roof replacements.  

What are Building Regulations? 

Building regulations help make sure that new buildings, renovations, or extensions are going to be safe. They are intended to protect people’s safety, health, and welfare in and around these buildings. Regulations can be related to several health and safety aspects. These include structural integrity, fire proception, accessibility, energy performance, protection against falls, and electrical and gas safety. They also lay standards for drains, ventilation, protection against the ingress of water and contamination including methane and radon gas. You may need building regulation approval to cover work on your home both internally and externally. 
Building control covers the structural, safety and accessibility aspects of development and progress throughout the construction. When you make a Building Regulations application, you are seeking to have the details of your development checked and approved for compliance with the standards of construction. 

The key aspects of Building Regulations include: 

- Safety (structural, fire e.g.) 
- Accessibility 
- Health impacts 
- Energy conservation 

What is Planning Permission? 

Planning permission, on the other hand, is permission granted by the local planning authorities for the development or change of use of land or buildings. It is the approval you need before various forms of construction, expansion, or demolition can begin. Planning permission is a legal requirement aimed at regulating the use and development of land in the public interest. This ensures that proposed developments are in line with local planning policies and contribute positively to the surrounding area. 
Put simply, Planning Permission assesses whether the development fits in with local and national policies and whether it would cause unacceptable harm. For example, to your neighbours’ quality of life. 

The Key aspects of Planning Permission includes: 

- Aesthetic appearance 
- Use 
- Light 
- Privacy 
- Traffic and public transport 
- Environmental impact. 
Conservatory Roof

Key differences between Building Regulations and Planning Permission 

While Building Regulations focus on the technical aspects of construction to ensure safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility. Planning Permission focuses on the broader aspects of the land use, design and environmental impact. Building Regulations are primarily concerned with the internal and structural aspects the building, while Planning Permission regulates the external appearance and use of land. 

“Do I need both?” 

For different types of building work, separate permissions will be required. For example, when building an extension. Alternatively, for building work such as interior alternations, Building Regulations will likely be needed, but Planning Permission may not be. 
Both are applications you need to make to your local council, hence why they are often confused. However, you should note that they are both sent to two separate council departments. They are also both considered under entirely different legislation and guidance. 
Both are legally required and must be submitted to your local council before beginning any work. Failure to comply to this could lead to a fine. So, ensure that you have acquired these and that any building company you have chosen to work with is working in compliance with these. 
In summary, planning permission relates to the developments impact on its surrounding environment. Whereas building regulations ensure that the development is structurally safe, accessible, and sustainable. Building regulations also considers the health and safety of the development’s occupants. 
Building regulations and planning permission are both essential aspects of the construction process. Each serves a distinct purpose in regulating the built environment. By understanding the differences between the two, developers can navigate the complexities of the planning process more effectively. This ensures that their projects comply with legal requirements and contribute positively to the communities they serve. 
If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please call us at 01604 947 146
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