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Building control, regulations, and Westminster District Surveyors

Information about regulations and enforcement.

Building control is where a person intending to carry out building work is assisted by a 3rd party organisation in complying with the building regulations. 

The 3rd party, known as a building control body (BCB), is an expert in the subject of building regulations compliance. 

The BCB helps the developer comply with regulations and provides them with a certificate at the end of the project. 

Building Control team brochure
Building Control team brochure PDF, 1.13 MB, 15 pages

The following building works are controlled by the building regulations: 

  • putting up a new building 
  • extending or altering an existing building 
  • providing services or fittings in a building such as washing and sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, foul water and rainwater drainage, replacement windows and fuel-burning appliances of any type 

Find out when you may need approval at the Planning Portal

Material change of use 

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a building so that the building or part of the building: 

  • is used as a dwelling where it wasn't before 
  • contains a flat where it didn't before 
  • containing flats is altered so there are more or less flats than there were before 
  • is used as a hotel or boarding house where it wasn't before 
  • is used as an institution where it wasn't before 
  • is used as a public building where it wasn't before 
  • is not an 'exempt building' where it was before 

When a material change of use takes place, the building or affected part needs to be upgraded to satisfy the regulations.  

Fire safety, ventilation provision and energy conservation applies to all the cases above.  

Structure, weather resistance, fire spread and sound insulation apply in specific cases. 

Technical requirements 

The technical requirements and guidance on how to meet the requirements are found at GOV.UK, however, please remember, that these are for guidance only. 

Find out more about Building Regulations at The Planning Portal.  

There is also an interactive house which provides guidance on building regulations for common household projects. 

Published: 8 December 2020

Last updated: 6 July 2023