Exempt buildings

Page updated on: 04/09/2023

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: 

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

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

Building regulations will generally apply if you want to build an extension to your home.

However, conservatories are normally exempt from building regulations when:

  • They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in internal floor area.
  • The conservatory is thermally separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
  • There is no fixed heating appliance or the buildings heating system is not extended into the conservatory.
  • Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable building regulations requirements

You are advised not to construct conservatories where they will restrict ladder access to windows serving rooms in roof or loft conversions, particularly if any of the windows are intended to help escape or rescue if there is a fire.

Any new structural opening between the conservatory and the existing house will require building regulations approval, even if the conservatory itself is an exempt structure.

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 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.

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.

Those buildings which remain erected for less than 28 days.