About building regulations

What building regulations are and your responsibilities on a building project. Find out about the changes to building regulations.

Building regulations

Building regulations are the standards and rules for building work. They ensure building work is safe and meets energy efficiency standards.

Most building projects must comply with the building regulations. The regulations apply to projects such as alterations, extensions, or home improvements, for example a new boiler or electrics.

If you are doing building work that needs to comply with building regulations, find out how to make an application

When we have signed off after the inspections, you'll receive a certificate of compliance. You will need this if you sell your property later.

You can also apply for a certificate of compliance if work was done in the past but there was no application or certificate.

Building regulations and planning permission are different and you may need both. So check if you need planning permission.

The full building regulations are on GOV.UK.

Your responsibilities

Meeting the requirements of the building regulations is the responsibility of the person carrying out the building work and, if they're not the same person, the owner of the building.

You may have to correct the building work or pay a fine, if you haven't applied for building regulations.

You should also be aware of your responsibilities around the health, safety and welfare. Read the guidelines to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Changes to building regulations 

Major changes to building regulations have been introduced to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and help the country move towards its targets for Net Zero by 2050.  

Improving energy efficiency

Construction is a major contributor to carbon emissions. The changes are the first step towards improving energy efficiency in housing regulations. The Future Homes and Buildings Standards will be introduced 2025, which will require more significant cuts to carbon emissions.  

Changes to new homes, extensions, existing buildings and non-domestic buildings

To comply with the new regulations, CO2 emissions from new build homes must be around 30% lower than current standards and emissions from other new buildings, including offices and shops, must be reduced by 27%. 

Most new homes must now have charging points for electric vehicles. 

All new residential buildings, including homes, care homes, student accommodation and children’s homes, must also be designed to reduce overheating.  

Improvements to ventilation have also been introduced to help keep residents in newly built homes safe and prevent the spread of airborne viruses in new non-residential buildings. 

The Regulations came into force on 15 June 2022. However, they do not apply to work on a building where a building notice, initial notice, or full plans application was deposited with a local authority before 15 June 2022, provided that the building work starts before 15 June 2023. 

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, advises that evidence of work starting includes: 

  • Excavation for strip or trench foundations or for pad footings 
  • Digging out and preparation of ground for raft foundations 
  • Vibrofloatation (stone columns) piling, boring for piles or pile driving 
  • Drainage work specific to the building(s) concerned. 

The government has also published the following New Approved Documents with updated guidance on new properties, exiting properties and other buildings. 

Document F – ventilation

Increased standards of ventilation are now required. Consideration must also now be given to outside noise when specifying trickle vents and openable windows for purge and background ventilation.  

Document O - Overheating 

The aim is to limit unwanted solar gains within summer and provide adequate means of removing excess heat from indoor environments.  Designers are required to consider the amount of glazing on the facades, ventilation provision and overheating mitigation, for example solar shading. 

Document L - Conservation of fuel and power and on-site generation of energy

To achieve the carbon emission targets designers will have now to incorporate renewable clean energy sources such as heat pump and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems into their schemes. 

Document S - Infrastructure for the charging of vehicles 

The majority of newly created dwellings now require electric charging points to be installed where a designated parking place has been provided.

It’s your responsibility to find out how the new regulations may affect the work you’re doing. Failure to follow building regulations, may result in an enforcement notice and legal action.