Guidance on which building works require building regulations approval and works that are exempt from building regulations.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Works needing building regulations approval

Most works to commercial properties and many works to homes, particularly more substantial alterations, do require approval, including:

2. Works exempt from building regulations approval

You don't need building regulations approval for:

  • Greenhouses: Provided they are not used for retailing, packing or exhibiting.
  • Small detached buildings/sheds: If the floor area does not exceed 15m² and contains no sleeping accommodation.
  • Small detached buildings: If the floor area does not exceed 30m², contains no sleeping accommodation and either has brick or concrete walls or is more than 1m from the boundary.
  • Boundary walls and fences: Fences, walls and gates do not require building regulation approval, however, there are some important things to consider when building new walls and when checking existing walls.
  • Single storey additions not open to house: With a floor area not exceeding 30m² that are: conservatories, greenhouses, porches, covered yards or carports open on at least two sides. Please note that glazed doors and walls should be of safety glass in critical areas and conservatories must have transparent roofs.
  • Temporary structures: Where a building is not intended to remain where it is erected for more than 28 days. Temporary structures are covered by the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939 Part IV - Section 30. 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 - our building regulations guide describes how to apply for a licence.

3. Further guidance on the need for building regulations approval

Building regulations are set out in the Building Act 1984 with detailed matters defined in the Building Regulations 2016.

The government also issues approved documents that provide guidance on meeting the building regulations.

The Planning Portal provide some further guidance on when you need approval and exemptions from building regulations. They also provide guidance on common building work projects that includes information on if and how the building regulations apply.

If you are uncertain of the status of any works to be undertaken and would like our informal opinion, please email us at buildingcontrol@lambeth.gov.uk including a clear description of all the works you intend to undertake and their location. If you would like our formal opinion on your proposed works prior to submitting an application we offer a building regulations pre-application advice service.

If your proposed works are exempt from the need for building regulations approval you should still:

  • Determine whether you require planning permission or other planning consents and apply if necessary.
  • 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.
  • Ensure that works are carried out safely to avoid accidents.
  • Recognise that some of these works could have implications for adjacent properties and residents. Out of courtesy, you should tell your neighbours about any work you’re planning to carry out – although they don’t have a right to object to the works under building regulations.