4. How to apply

Contact a ‘building control body’ (BCB) to check the building regulations or apply for approval.

There are different rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Where to apply

There are 2 types of BCB. It’s up to you which you use.

Local authority BCBs

You can apply for approval from your council.

Private BCBs

You can apply through a private approved inspector.

They’ll tell your local authority about the work. This is called giving an ‘initial notice’.

Choose a type of application

You must decide on the type of application for your planned build, extension or alteration work.

Full plans

This is the most thorough option. You can expect a decision within 5 weeks, or 2 months with your consent.

You’ll get a completion certificate within 8 weeks of completion of the building work as long as it complies.

Building notice

This type of application is only for smaller projects. You can start work 2 days after your notice has been submitted to your BCB. You don’t get formal approval like you do with full plans.


You can apply for ‘regularisation’ - retrospective approval for work already carried out without consent - from a local authority BCB only.

Only work carried out after 11 November 1985 can be approved in this way.

You might need to make alterations before your BCB can agree the work complies and give you a regularisation certificate.

You may have to correct the work or pay a fine if building regulations aren’t followed.

Fees and costs

Local authority BCBs base their fees on the costs of their work, like site inspections.

What you’ll pay depends on the:

  • type of work involved
  • number of dwellings in the building
  • total floor area, eg in the case of extensions

Private BCBs negotiate their fees directly with you.

You might not have to pay a fee for works carried out solely for a person with a disability.