Rodić Davidson Architects

What is the difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?


What are Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are the minimum standards to which a building or new development must comply to. The regulations are developed by the Secretary of State, advised by The Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) and approved by Parliament. They ensure that new buildings, conversions, renovations and extensions whether domestic or commercial will be built as safe, healthy and high-performing spaces. These regulations are set out in the Building Regulations (2010) and are supported by Approved Documents, which set out the practical guidance on each.

They set out what is regarded as ‘building work’ and so must adhere to Building Regulations, what typologies of buildings are exempt (such as temporary buildings), the procedures and the specific aspects of building design and construction. The series of approved documents establish the regulations:

Part A: Structure

Part B: Fire safety

Part C: Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Part D: Toxic substances

Part E: Resistance to the passage of sound

Part F: Ventilation

Part G: Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency

Part H: Drainage and waste disposal

Part J: Heat producing appliances and Fuel storage system

Part K: Protection from falling, collision and impact

Part L: Conservation of fuel and power

Part M: Access to and use of buildings

Part N: Glazing – Safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning

Part O: Overheating

Part P: Electrical safety

Part Q: Security – Dwellings

Part R: Physical infrastructure for high-speed electronic communication networks


Planning Permission vs Building Regulations

Planning Permission is the approval needed which aims to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This assesses the impact that the development will have on the general environment through evaluating the use of land and buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations and highway access. This is a completely distinct process to Building Regulations which covers the structural aspects of the development and its progress during construction to ensure safety for those in the development and in the surrounding site.

When using a Local Authority Building Control Service, there are three application types for Pre-site approval, Full Plans, Building Notice and Regularisation.

A Full Plans application is one which provides plans and other supporting information containing all construction details in advance to the commencement of works. The Local Authority will assess and consult any relevant authorities and must issue a decision within five weeks, or if agreed a maximum of two months from the date of submission. Similarly, to planning permission, an approval can be made with conditions, however these will specify modifications or require further plans to be submitted.

A Building Notice application does not require plans therefore is quicker and less detailed, designed to speed up the commencement of works and best situated to small building works; this is the most common Building Regulations application undergone by homeowners. Building Notices cannot be used when the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies, work which is built on or close to rainwater and foul drains, and where the new building will front onto a private street. This method has a bigger risk that the Local Authority will require the correction of works upon inspection, therefore you must be confident the development complies.

Regularisation is a retrospective application which seeks approval for works carried out previously unauthorized (on or after the 11 November 1985) to avoid prosecution and obtain a certificate of regularisation. Depending on the scheme, exposure, removal and rectification of the works may be necessary for compliance.

When building works get to a particular stage, you are required to give the local authority notice, each Local Authority sets out the regulations you are required to follow at various stages. The works are required to pause in order to give the Local Authority or Approve Inspector to make an Inspection and advise on whether it is complying with Building Regulations. This differs to the Planning Permission process as it is not a single approval but checkpoints at various stages. If the local authority is not informed at the relevant stages of work, they may issue a notice in writing requiring the opening up of the works for assessment.


Planning and Building Control

On most occasions you will need both Planning Permission and Building Regulations, or Planning Permission alone. You can apply to your Local Authority Building Control Department or to an Approved Inspector for Building Regulation approval, where you gain approval depends on which service is being used.

You do not need Building Regulations approval for most repairs, replacements and maintenance works excluding heating systems, oil tanks, fuse boxes and glazing units. Nor are they necessary for new power and lighting points, or changes to existing circuits except around showers and baths.


How Rodić Davidson can Help

Whilst an architect is not required for a Planning application or a Building Regulations application they can both be complex and confusing processes. At Rodić Davidson we consider every little detail when putting a package together, other ‘competent persons’ who can apply for building regulations approval such as contractors or structural engineers do not have formal training or a specialized discipline, therefore may not be as efficient. Architects have the correct training to bring together all the different elements a building Regulations application requires, as well as being involved in the entire process, providing consistency and therefore efficiency. The Rodić Davidson team have extensive experience in Architecture and Project Management which has built an extensive body of a range of professionals who have proven to be competent and reliable. When ensuring that a scheme will get Building Regulation approval it is vital to build a team of contractors, structural engineers and surveyors which excel within the skillsets required for your project. A competent team of professionals led by Rodić Davidson will ensure the project is built exactly as drawn, avoiding any opening up works or delays.


Contact our team today

Rodić Davidson is always interested in new potential projects of any scale, one of our team would love to hear about your property and discuss how we can help. We offer all of our clients a bespoke approach, molded by each site and it’s exciting, individual constraints.

You can call our studio to enquire or email us on


+44 (0)20 7043 3551


+44 (0)20 7043 3552

Rodic Davidson Architects

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