London Borough of Barnet

Building control

View of new housing development in borough of Barnet

Do I need building control approval for my building work?

New building work usually requires that you get two different approvals, planning and building control. If you want to construct, extend or alter a house or a workplace building, it is likely that you will need to make an application under Building Regulations. You may also need planning permission. You may need building regulation approval even if you do not need planning permission.

While getting planning permission means that your plans are legal and comply with the law, this does not guarantee the safety of the actual building work.

This is the purpose of building regulations – they exist to ensure that the building work is safe and done to an acceptable standard. Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to make sure they are safe and also cover issues like energy conservation and access.

Barnet’s Building Control service can help you with this and offers an extensive range of services. Contact us on 020 8359 4500.

If you employ a builder, they will normally make sure they get the necessary building control approvals.

Any person carrying out building work that falls under the categories set out below has a responsibility to comply with the Building Regulations.  This can apply to the client, owner, constructor, designer, supplier, etc.

Building Regulations apply when any of the following are carried out:

  • erect or re-erect a building or part of a building
  • extend a building
  • carry out external or internal alterations to a building that affect structural, fire safety, thermal performance and disabled provisions
  • convert a roof space
  • re-cover roofs or reclad a building
  • carry out underpinning
  • change the use of a building or part of a building
  • replace windows and doors
  • insert cavity insulation
  • install unvented hot water systems 

Building Regulations also cover the provision, extension or alterations of:

  • washing and sanitary facilities and fittings  
  • sanitary pipework  
  • foul and rainwater drainage  
  • sewage treatment plants and cesspools  
  • boilers, flues, chimneys and hearths  
  • fuel storage installations  
  • hot water storage and controls  
  • electrical installations to dwellings  
  • thermal elements   

Exempt works

Some types of building work may be carried out without submitting a building regulations application. The main types of works that are exempt are:

  • porches – if not used for any other purpose, for example when it does not contain a sink or w/c, is built on the ground, is less than 30m² and is separated from the dwelling by a suitable door
  • conservatories – built on the ground, less than 30m², attached to the dwelling but separated by a suitable door. However an application would be required for any new or enlarged structural opening
  • garages or small detached buildings of less than 15m² with no sleeping accommodation
  • single storey detached buildings less than 30m² with no sleeping accommodation and either more than 1m from the boundary or constructed of non-combustible materials
  • greenhouses and agricultural buildings
  • carports –open on at least two sides
  • covered ways
  • detached buildings not normally used by people
  • temporary buildings – if they are to remain no longer than 28 days
  • construction sites and sales offices.

Please note that any glazing or fixed electrical installations would need to comply with the applicable parts of the Building Regulations. For a complete list of exemptions please refer to Schedule 2, 3 and 4 of the Building Regulations or check the planning portal.

These exemptions cover:

  • detached garages having less than 30 square metres in floor area, and constructed of non-combustible materials
  • detached summer houses having less than 30 square metres in floor area, and containing no sleeping accommodation and constructed of non-combustible materials
  • timber sheds providing they are less than  15 square metres, or if between 15 and 30 square metres that are positioned a minimum of one metre from the boundary.

Information on exemptions from the need for building regulation can be found on the planning portal.

You should also check if your builder is taking responsibility for making sure that work meets building regulations approval and if they will be dealing with building control on your behalf. A good website to visit is the local authority building control web site at http://www.labc.uk.com/ which has a full range of information.

Building work that impacts the highway in any way (e.g. construction of scaffolding on the pavement, storage of materials etc) will require a construction licence. Click here for more information on these.

What do I need to do?

There are two different approaches:

Building Notice Application

For minor works you may only need to fill out a Building Notice Application. These require a basic level of information to be submitted, normally by your builder, along with the relevant payment. This allows the work to begin. The plans are not checked in detail and no formal approval is issued. T his route does mean relying on good on-site supervision to ensure the work is correct. While a building control surveyor will try to anticipate potential problems and issue guidance, it is ultimately the responsibility of those carrying out the works to comply.

Two sets of detailed plans and structural calculations should be submitted with an application.

We recommend that building notices are only used for minor and uncomplicated works.

The Building Notice Charge is payable on deposit of a Building Notice.

Full Plans applications

The Full Plans application will allow us to check the plans and calculations for compliance with the regulations. Once the plans have been found to comply with the regulations, we will issue a Passing of Plans Notice.

We require three sets of detailed plans of your proposals and, where applicable, structural calculations.

You are entitled to prepare the plans yourself but it is recommended that you seek the services of a professional to prepare your plans and act as your agent.

Full Plans applications must be used on building work in relation to a building put to or intended to be put to a use which is designated under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and when building over or near a public sewer.

Charges are the same whether using full plans or building notice. However if you are using the full plans approach you will need to pay 40% of the charge as a deposit and 60% of the site inspection charge after we have made our first site inspection.

There are on-line forms under the Apply for it now box on the right of this page

There are a range of other things you may need to notify us about. These are shown below.

Regularisation application

This applies where works begun after November 1985 and where we have not received a building notice or a full plans application. The owner or agent on behalf of the owner may seek to regularise the unauthorised works by applying for a certificate of regularisation. This method is dependent on the site works being exposed for inspection and may involve sampling and testing of materials used. Structural calculations and detailed plans may also be requested.

The Regularisation charge is payable on deposit of the application, are 130 per cent of the Building Notice net charge and are exempt from VAT.

Regularisation application form

Domestic electrical work

The electrical installation form must to be completed when the works will not be carried out by a competent person registered with a Competent Person Scheme and submitted with a Building Notice application form.

Notice of Demolition (Section 80)

Please submit this application if you are proposing to demolish a building.

The charge of £250 is payable on submission of a demolition application. You can apply for a demolition notice on-line here Notice of Demolition (s80).
Alternatively you can download a paper application from the building control forms download in the column on the right which can be filled in and sent to us in the post.

Notice of Commencement

Please submit this form once you know the date that you going to be starting the work. Do note that this should only be submitted if a Building Notice or a Full Plans application has already been deposited with Building Control.

What happens when I start work?

Once work is underway you will need to arrange an inspection by contacting the building control service. The contact details are in the contact box on the right.

Times of inspections 

Monday to Friday usually between 11:00 and 15:00; we may be able to do same day inspections if called before 10:00 am.

When to start work

For Building Notice applications you can start work two working days after we have been told works are to begin, your application has been validated and we have contact details of the builder. There is a commencement notice attached to the back of the application form that can be used for this.

For Full Plans applications you will only receive the full benefit and protection of this route if you wait until you have received approval from us before you start work. However, there is nothing to prevent you starting work in line with the Building Notice procedure above.

Site inspections
Our inspection service is a key part in the success of your project. We visit the site and provide advice when requested to help make sure that the work complies with the regulations. In order to show us that the works meet the minimum standards you must notify us before work starts and at various stages of construction, as outlined below.

Frequency of inspections

The Building Control Surveyor will inspect works as often as necessary to show that the regulations have been followed. It is not practicable for every item of work to which the regulations relate to be examined. We target inspections on Health and Safety matters. Our visiting surveyor will discuss with the builder the stages of construction we need to inspect. Below are some examples of the various key stages of work we typically inspect.

Extensions

  • new excavations for foundations
  • oversite and any sub-floor ventilation
  • damp-proof courses to walls and damp-proof membranes to floors
  • above and below ground drainage alterations including witnessing of drain tests
  • structural members and roofing including any restraint straps
  • insulation and condensation control to the building fabric
  • ventilation to rooms
  • completion.

Loft conversions

  • structural members including support to any removed chimney stacks
  • floor, wall and roof timbers
  • insulation to floors, roof and walls including condensation control in the fabric of the loft
  • new drainage, including witnessing a drain test
  • stairs, handrails, headroom, and any safety glass
  • fire safety provisions including escape routes, fire doors and fire alarms
  • completion.

Flat conversions

  • sound insulation to floors, ceilings and partitions,
  • structural changes including new partitions and any necessary vertical or horizontal ties
  • new drainage, including witnessing a drain test
  • insulation and heat loss provisions including windows,  walls and roof
  • ventilation to rooms
  • fire safety provisions including escape routes, fire separation, fire doors, emergency lighting and fire alarms
  • completion.

Underpinning

  • first pin
  • foundation to new sequence
  • dry packing and next excavation
  • last excavation
  • completion.

The above inspections are not necessarily the only ones we make. Sometimes we carry out unannounced inspections and some jobs will require specific extra inspections, such as fire protection to the structure. More complex or major projects may require daily visits.

Our surveyor will discuss with the builder the next stage that we need to be called to inspect. Please note it is possible for several stages of work to be inspected at the same time. Client specifications or other issues are not commented upon provided the minimum standards of the Building Regulations are met.

The inspection people most frequently forget to call us for is the completion. This is an important inspection as it is usually the last chance for us to work with the builder to remedy any defect. This may also delay us in issuing a completion certificate.

How much will it cost?

Charges are payable to the council for various applications under the Building Regulations and Building Act and are set under The Building Regulation (Local Authority Charges) Regulations 2010, S10 of the London Local Authority Act 2004 and The London Borough of Barnet Building Regulations Charging Scheme No1.1, 2012. For a full version of the scheme please click on the link

Barnet Building Regulations Charging Scheme No1.1, 2012

Full Plans Application Charges

The deposit charge is payable on submission of a Full Plans application, the site inspection charge is payable following our first inspection.

When the fees are based on an estimated cost of £5,000 or less the whole of the fee is payable on deposit.

Building Notice Charges

The charge is payable on submission of a Building Notice. There is an additional charge if a completion certificate is required.

Regularisation and Reversion Charges

The Regularisation and Reversion charge is payable on deposit and is 130% of the Building Notice net charge, VAT is not payable on regularisation and reversion applications. A reversion charge is made if you want us to take over a project that was previously supervised by an external inspector.

Demolitions

The charge of £250 is payable on submission of a demolition application.

Which table should I use?

There are two tables, Table A: Certain Domestic Charges and Table B: All other works. Table A contains a set of standard charges and Table B the more familiar table based on the estimated cost of works. Where the work includes more than one extension the total floor area of the extensions may be aggregated together.

Please note that loft conversions and extensions are treated as separate elements of work and attract individual charges.  When calculating the charge you may have to take into account more than one standard charge as well as a charge based upon the estimated cost of works - in cases such as these or where the estimated cost of works exceeds £150,000 you are advised to contact us to provide an individual quote on 020 8359 4500.

It would help us if you complete a Quotation Request form and email it to us with a copy of the existing and proposed layout drawing to building.control@barnet.gov.uk.

Table A - Domestic charges

Do your works involve a Party Wall

If your building works are close to your neighbour, particularly if they involve a shared, or party wall, you need to be aware of some legislation designed to protect householders from building work close to their homes.

The legislation (the Party Wall Act 1996 outlines your responsibilities if you are carrying out building work. It allows for the appointment of a party wall surveyor to protect the interests of both parties.

You can download information about party walls in the download column on the right.

Re (Regional Enterprise) Ltd, a company owned jointly by Barnet Council and Capita, which provides the council's building control service, are able to act as party wall surveyors. If you would like more information on this service you can get this by calling our party wall surveyor on 0208 359 4500 or email building.control@barnet.gov.uk.

Considerate Constructors logo

Considerate Constructors Overview

The Considerate Constructors Scheme is a not for profit organisation set up by the construction industry to improve its image and benefit the community.

Sites and companies that register with the Scheme are monitored against a five-point Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage performance beyond statutory requirements. Any work that could be construed by the general public as ‘construction’ can be registered with the Scheme.

The Code consists of the following five sections:

  • Enhancing the Appearance
  • Respecting the Community
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Securing everyone’s Safety
  • Caring for the Workforce

The Scheme is concerned about any construction activity that may have a direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole. These areas of interest fall into three main categories:

The neighbourhood and general public

Registered sites and companies should do all they can to reduce any negative impact on anyone affected by their work, and they should aim to leave a positive impression on their neighbours.

The workforce

Registered sites and companies should do all they can to be a considerate employer. They should provide clean and appropriate facilities for those who work for them. Facilities should be comparable to those provided in any other working environment. Everyone working on site should be treated with respect.

The environment

Registered sites and companies should do all they can to reduce any negative effect they have on the environment. They should work in an environmentally-conscious and sustainable manner.

Interested in joining or you would like more information?

Considerate Constructors Scheme