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Do you need building regulation permissions?

The majority of building projects require approval under the Building Regulations, these include:-

  • The construction of a new house, office, shop, factory, hotels, schools and many other types of buildings.
  • The extension of any building, unless the extension is either a porch or conservatory (see below).
  • Structural alterations carried out on buildings, e.g. removing load-bearing walls.
  • Alterations to drainage systems, heating systems and hot water systems.
  • Internal alterations to commercial buildings that affect means of escape in case of fire.
  • Renovation of thermal elements
  • Cavity wall insulation.
  • Underpinning
  • Replacement windows
  • Certain changes of use of buildings.

Certain buildings are considered to be exempt from the requirements of the Building Regulations. These are generally those types of buildings where the application of the regulations would be unduly onerous. In such cases you may build without approval under the Building Regulations.

Even though your proposals may be exempt from the Building Regulations you may still require planning permission. It would be advisable before proceeding to notify both Building Control and Planning Services with written details and sketches of your proposals. We will then confirm if the work is exempt and you could keep that with the details of your property for future reference in the event of proof being required upon the sale of your property or for any other reason.

List of exempt buildings:

Ancillary Buildings

  • Building site offices containing no sleeping accommodation.
  • Estate sales buildings.
  • Buildings other than dwellings or offices used in connection with a mine or quarry.

Buildings not frequented by people
These are detached buildings, into which persons do not normally go or only go intermittently to inspect plant and machinery.

The exemption applies only if the building is sited at least one and a half times its height either from the boundary or from any point of a building into which people normally go.

In order to be exempt your carport must satisfy the following criteria:-

  • Must be at ground floor level only.
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30 square metres
  • The carport must be open on at least two sides

The definition of a conservatory is considered to be a single storey part of a building at ground floor level, where the roof and walls are substantially glazed with a translucent or transparent material, intended for growing plants, but often used as occasional living space.

In order to be exempt your conservatory extension must satisfy the following criteria:-

  • Must be at ground floor level only.
  • They are single storey.
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30 square metres
  • A conservatory has not less than three-quarters of the area of its roof and not less than half the area of its external walls made of translucent material.
  • Must not be used for any other purpose ( e.g. Kitchen or living /sleeping accommodation).
  • Existing external entrance doors and/or windows must be retained.
  • Safety glazing must be used.

Covered ways
A covered yard or covered way.

In order to be exempt your garage must satisfy the following criteria:-

  • Must be detached
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30 square metres.
  • More than 1 metre from the boundary or constructed of brickwork or blockwork.

Greenhouses and agricultural buildings
Greenhouses are only exempt providing they are not used for retailing, packing or exhibiting.

Agricultural buildings and buildings principally for keeping animals are exempt if they are not used as a dwelling, are at least one and a half times their height from any building where there is sleeping accommodation and have a fire exit not more than 30m from any point in a building.

The definition of a porch is a single storey extension, used primarily as a wind shelter, but also used for the storage of coats, shoes, umbrellas and the like, attached to an existing building at ground level and fixed over an access door.

In order to be exempt your porch extension must satisfy the following criteria:-

  • Must be at ground floor level only
  • Internal floor area must not exceed 30 square metres.
  • Must not be used for any other purpose (e.g. Kitchen or living / sleeping accommodation)
  • Existing external entrance doors and / or windows must be retained.
  • Safety glazing must be used.

Small Detached Buildings
Single storey buildings under 30m2 floor area, containing no sleeping accommodation, constructed substantially of non-combustible material, or sited at least one metre from the boundary or curtilage (e.g. detached garage).

Nuclear shelters under 30m2 floor area: where the excavation for the shelter is not nearer to any other buildings than the depth of the excavation plus one metre.

A detached building, having a floor area not more than 15m2, with no sleeping accommodation, can be constructed of any material.

Temporary Buildings
Those buildings which remain erected for less than 28 days.

Competent person schemes were introduced by the Government to allow individuals and enterprises to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations as an alternative to submitting a building notice or using an approved inspector.

The principles of self-certification are based on giving people who are competent in their field the ability to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations without the need to submit a building notice and thus incurring local authority inspections or fees.

It is hoped that moving towards self-certification will significantly enhance compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, reduce costs for firms joining recognised schemes, and promote training and competence within the industry.

It should also help tackle the problem of 'cowboy builders', and assist local authorities with enforcement of the Building Regulations.

Please read  the "Building work, replacements and repairs to your home" leaflet before starting any work. Many jobs in the home need to be notified to and approved by us unless carried out by an installer who is registered with a Competent Person Scheme. Some examples are shown in this leaflet.


Useful Links:

You will need to apply for Building Regulations if you plan to convert a garage.

This is because you are changing a non habitable space into a habitable space. This would be classified as a 'material change of use'.

The Building Regulations will help to ensure:

  • The garage is safe and sound;
  • That it is water and weatherproof;
  • It is insulated for comfort and energy conservation;
  • It is ventilated to assist healthy living.

You will need to apply for Building Regulations if you are going to carry out a loft conversion.

The relevant requirements of the regulations will be applied so as to ensure, for example:

  • The structural stability of the proposed floor is sufficient;
  • The stability of the structure, (including the roof) is not endangered;
  • Safe escape from fire and
  • Safely designed stairs to the new floor.


We have the experience and expertise to deal with a wide range of building projects.

Examples of the many different projects we have worked on recently can be found on the pages below.  They range from private houses to large leisure developments, educational establishments to retail premises. 

As well as working on schemes in Carmarthenshire, we also provide plan checking for projects nationally as part of our Partnership scheme. 

  • Educational
  • Healthcare
  • Hotels, Restaurants and Pubs - With the large developments in Carmarthenshire, the number of places to eat, drink and sleep are on the increase.
  • Offices - There are many innovative office developments in Carmarthenshire, helping businesses to get the best from their work space.
  • Public - From new builds to listed building renovation, there are many examples of high quality public buildings in Carmarthenshire.
  • Residential - Homes of all shapes and sizes are being built across Carmarthenshire, from one off houses to innovative apartments.
  • Retail - A number of recent retail developments have seen the variety of shops in Carmarthenshire increasing.
  • Sport and Leisure - Carmarthenshire has exciting new developments in leisure including sports facilities, a race course and cinemas.

Some kinds of work carried out to a property may not be controlled by the Building Regulations, but may be work which is covered by the Party Wall Act 1996.

This is a separate piece of legislation with different requirements to the Building Regulations. The Party Wall Act 1996, makes provision in respect of party walls and excavation and construction in proximity to certain buildings or structures. 

There will be some instances where both the Party Wall Act and the Building Regulations apply to the work being carried out.

Responsibility For Owners
The Party Act came into force on 1 July 1996 and applies throughout England and Wales.

The Act provides guidance for preventing and resolving disputes about party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

If you intend to carry out building work which involves:

  • work on an existing wall shared with another property
  • building on the boundary with a neighbouring property
  • excavating near a neighbouring building

you must find out whether that work falls within the Act. If it does, you must notify all adjoining neighbours.

What is a Party Wall?
According to the Act a wall is a 'party wall' if

  • it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two or more different owners and is part of one building
  • or it belongs to one owner but separates two or more buildings

A wall is also a 'party wall' if it stands wholly on one owner's land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings

A 'party fence wall' is not part of a building, and stands astride the boundary line between lands of different owners e.g. a garden wall

A 'party structure' could be a wall, floor partition or similar which separates buildings or parts of buildings e.g. flats

The Act covers work on existing party walls, new buildings on the boundary line between neighbouring pieces of land and excavation near neighbouring buildings.


  • The Party Wall Act 1996 - Explanatory Booklet (.pdf, 598kb)
    The Department for Communities and Local Government (formally the ODPM) has produced an explanatory booklet which gives details of the Act.  It covers work done by building owners, as well as how this affects adjoining owners.  There is also a section on frequently asked questions.

    Also included is a series of example letters covering how to give notice of works involving party walls etc. and how to accept and decline permission for this work.

Useful link:

There are occasions when, for various reasons, building work has been carried out without the benefit of a Building application. When this happens we may be able to issue a Regularisation Certificate to legitimise the unauthorised work.


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