Building work at home or at work need to comply with minimum standards set by law.

Building regulations exist to ensure the health and safety of people in and around all types of buildings; domestic, commercial and industrial. They also provide for energy conservation, and for access and facilities for disabled people.

Our guide below will help you understand the building regulations process and what you need to do to obtain approval. We also provide a printable guide to building regulations approval for your convenience.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Building work at home

Before you start work

Before you start any work to your home you should:

  • Check whether you need building regulations approval and, if you do, apply for and get building regulations approval.
  • Check if you need planning permission or other planning consents and obtain them as necessary. Building regulations approval and planning permission are completely different. If you apply for planning permission, you still need separate approval from us that your work meets building regulations.
  • If you are a leaseholder in a Council freehold property you must consult the Council’s home ownership service by emailing homeownershipservice@lambeth.gov.uk to meet the requirements of your lease.
  • Consider whether the Party Wall Act 1996 applies to your proposed building works and, if so, serve the appropriate notice. The requirements of the Party Wall Act are a civil legal matter between you and your neighbour and Lambeth has no role to play in the administration of the Act.
  • Tell your neighbours about any work you’re planning to carry out. Although they don’t have a right under building regulations to object to the works, there could still be implications for their property and / or disturbance during construction.

What type of application should you submit?

For building regulations approval for work at home you need to complete a building notice or a full plans application. Which of these applications you need depends on the scale and type of work involved, and your appetite for risk.

Building notices
A building notice is best suited for smaller building works to the home and is not acceptable for all types of works. No plans are needed with a building notice, which makes the process easier and quicker than a full plans application, and you are able to commence works 48 hours after we have received your application. Without any approved plans your builder will need to be sure the works fully comply with all building regulations. If the building works do not comply there is a risk that we will require you to redo some or all of them. The Planning Portal provides some further guidance on building notice applications.

Full plans applications
A full plans application requires you to submit a full set of plans along with your application. We will fully assess the plans and then notify you to say that they are approved, have conditional approval or require amendments. This process is slower than submitting a building notice application - we recommend you submit your application at least five weeks before you plan to commence on site - but it does mean that once you have our approval you and your builder can be confident that your plans comply with the building regulations. The Planning Portal provides some further guidance on full plans applications.

Submitting your application

When you are ready to make your application you can apply for building regulations approval. You can apply online though our partner submit-a-plan.com or, if you prefer, we provide copies of printable application forms for offline submission.

You must submit your application at least two days before work on site is due to begin.

If you are submitting a full plans application and wish to submit a paper application rather than an electronic one, then you will normally need to send in two sets of plans - we'll use these to check and consult with other authorities in the borough, for example, fire and water authorities. In some cases, we will need more copies of the plans, but we'll let you know if this is the case. No plans are required for a building notice application.

There is a fee for both building notice and full plans applications. The fee for your application will depend upon the type of development and its scale. Please refer to our summary of building regulations fees for details of some common domestic works:

What happens after you submit your application?

Within three working days of receiving your building notice or full plans application, we will send you a letter to confirm that we can process it. You can then arrange the first inspection with our surveyor.

Whatever type of application you make we will inspect the work in stages while it is being carried out, and we will give building regulations approval when the work has been finished to meet the requirements of the regulations.

When the work is finished our surveyor will carry out a final inspection, ensure that all the work complies with building regulations, and make sure that all the paperwork is complete, including a check that all application fees have been paid.

Once your application is approved we can send you a completion certificate on request. If duplicate certificates are needed, we will charge you £75 for them.

The certificate will be useful for you to have in the future, particularly if you decide to sell your house or flat. It is also a good way of making sure that your builders have done all the necessary work to meet the regulations before you pay their bill.

Resubmission

If you submitted a full plans application and your plans are rejected you may submit another set for us to review, and you have a right to appeal. If you resubmit revised plans for the same work within three months (known as a re-submission of plans), you will not have to pay the application charge again. After this time you will need to pay another charge.

Further information

If you are considering carrying out work to your home and are unfamiliar with the building regulations process the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) website has some useful guidance for homeowners.

2. Building work on commercial developments

Before you start work

Before you start any work to your property you should:

  • Check whether you need building regulations approval and, if you do, apply for and get building regulations approval.
  • Check if you need planning permission or other planning consents and obtain them as necessary. Building regulations approval and planning permission are completely different. If you apply for planning permission, you still need separate approval from us that your work meets building regulations.
  • Consider the Secure by Design principles in any new housing development as this can contribute toward achieving planning permission and compliance with approved document Q of the building regulations.
  • Consider whether the Party Wall Act 1996 applies to your proposed building works and, if so, serve the appropriate notice. The requirements of the Party Wall Act are a civil legal matter between you and your neighbour and Lambeth has no role to play in the administration of the Act.
  • Tell your neighbours about any work you’re planning to carry out. Although they don’t have a right under building regulations to object to the works, there could still be implications for their property and / or disturbance during construction.

Submitting your application

Building works to commercial properties require a full plans application. You must send in your application before you begin any work and ideally a full plans application should be sent at least five weeks before the work is due to start.

When you are ready to make your application you can apply for building regulations approval. You can apply online though our partner submit-a-plan.com or, if you prefer, we provide copies of printable application forms for offline submission.

Your application will most likely require the payment of an application fee. For commercial applications we recommend you email us at buildingcontrol@lambeth.gov.uk, including a clear description of all the works you intend to undertake and their location, or call us on 020 7926 1288, for advice on the appropriate fee.

If you wish to submit your application on paper rather than online, then you will normally need to send in two sets of plans. In some cases, we will need more copies of the plans, but we'll let you know if this is the case. We'll use your plans to assess your proposed works and to consult with other authorities in the borough, for example, fire and water authorities.

What happens after you submit your application?

Within three working days of receiving your full plans application, we will send you a letter to confirm that we can process it. We will then assess your plans and if they meet the building regulations, we'll issue you with an approval notice within five weeks - you are advised to wait for this before you start work.

Please tell us in writing at least two days before you start any work - we will send you a pre-printed 'commencement notice' that you can use to make it easier for you to let us know. Further inspections will also be required and our surveyor will discuss this when they meet you or your builder.

Whatever type of application you make we will inspect the work in stages while it is being carried out, and we will give building regulations approval when the work has been finished to meet the requirements of the regulations.

When the work is finished our surveyor must carry out a final inspection. The surveyor will then make sure that all the paperwork is complete, and that all the work complies with building regulations. All of the application fees must have been paid too, otherwise a completion certificate will not be issued.

There is no charge for the first copy of a completion certificate with a commercial full plans application. If duplicate certificates are needed, we will charge you for them.

Resubmission

If you submitted a full plans application and your plans are rejected you may submit another set for us to review, and you have a right to appeal. If you resubmit revised plans for the same work within three months (known as a re-submission of plans), you will not have to pay the application charge again. After this time you will need to pay another charge.

Altering the means of escape in case of fire

Where altering the means of escape in case of fire we recommend that prior to the submission of your formal application you email us at buildingcontrol@lambeth.gov.uk with copies of your existing and proposed floor plans. We will then advise you in respect of your projects compliance with the regulations or any alterations that will be needed when you come to submit your full plans application.

3. Application fees and payment

If you know the fee for your application from our list of building regulations fees or if you have contacted us for advice on the fee then please submit the fee with your application. You can email us at buildingcontrol@lambeth.gov.uk with a clear description of all the works you intend to undertake and their location, or call us on 020 7926 1288, for advice on the appropriate fee.

If you do not know the correct fee then you may submit your application without a fee and we will contact you so that you can make payment - please be aware that this will delay the processing of your application until payment is received.

You can pay your application fee by cheque, credit or debit card, or cash.

Payment by cheque
Cheques should be made payable to 'London Borough of Lambeth' and be sent to Building Control, 1st Floor, Phoenix House, 10 Wandsworth Road, London, SW2 8LL. Please write the address of the property and, if you have it, the application reference number on the back of the cheque. This will help us process it quickly and efficiently.

Payment by credit or debit card
You can pay by credit or debit card over the phone. Usually we will contact you for outstanding payments once we have received and logged your application, however, in the event that this has not happened and you have received an application reference number, then you can call us by phone on 020 7926 1278 or 0207926 1280 with your debit and credit card details.

Payment in cash
To pay cash you should come to our office at Phoenix House, 10 Wandsworth Road, London, SW2 8LL on weekdays between the hours of 10am and 4pm and tell the reception staff that you wish to pay a building control fee.

There are no fees for any work relating to specific disabled needs, for example, ramp access or a disabled toilet.

4. Unauthorised work

You are required by law to make an application for building regulations approval before you begin building works. If you fail to comply with building regulations, we’ll serve you with an enforcement notice and take legal action.

There are penalties for breaking building regulations. If prosecuted, you could be faced with a fine of up to £5,000, plus £50 for each day after the conviction that the work is not put right

As a property owner, you are responsible for making sure that any work carried out meets building regulations approval, even if that work took place before you bought the property. Make sure you are shown any completion certificates before you buy a property.

Regularisation

If the previous owner didn't get building regulations approval, you may still be able to apply to cover the work that was carried out before you bought the property.

If the building work was carried out after 11 November 1985 then a regularisation certificate can be issued through an application process. You will need to fill out a regularisation application form and pay the appropriate regularisation fee.

Regularisation fees for some common works to homes are provided within our list of building regulations fees. For other works please email us at buildingcontrol@lambeth.gov.uk, with a clear description of all the works you that you seeking to regularise and their location, or call us on 020 7926 1288, so that we can calculate the appropriate fee.

A surveyor will not visit the property until a completed application form and fee has been provided.

It may be necessary to uncover some of the work to conduct a proper inspection. Having notified us of the work the owner is obliged to do whatever necessary to ensure it complies with the current legislation.

If the unathorised building work was carried out before 11 November 1985 we cannot consider a regularisation application.

There is no extra fee for the regularisation certificate once the works have been certified as meeting the regulations

5. Temporary structures

We issue licences for special and temporary structures to ensure they are designed, constructed and maintained safely, for example, marquees, flag poles and advertising boards.

Temporary structures are covered by the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939 Part IV - Section 30. We need to give consent for a temporary structure to be erected.

To make your application please download and complete the London Building Amendment Act 1939 Section 30 Application form. Once completed please submit your application form by email or post to:

Building Control,
1st Floor, Phoenix House,
10 Wandsworth Road,
London SW2 8LL
Email: buildingcontrol@lambeth.gov.uk

You will need to pay a fee with your application. Please see our guide to the London Building Acts (A) 1939 Section 30 Charges to determine the correct amount. Fee payments can be made in the ways described in the in ‘Application Fees and Payments’ section of this guide.