Guide to building control applications

Find out how to make an application within the City of Westminster under the Building Regulations 2010.

There is also advice on temporary structures requiring an application under Section 30.

1. Full plans application

A full plans application must be made when there is a proposal to carry out building works to:

  • a building which is not a single family dwelling house
  • erect a building fronting a private street
  • construct over or within 3 metres of a public sewer

The change to extend the types of property needing a full plans application is the result of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO). This requires plans of building work for most buildings to be sent to the fire authority for formal consultation.


The advantages include:

  • having your plans checked by our surveyors and approved as complying with the building regulations
  • receiving a set of approved plans and near immunity from enforcement action if you build in accordance with those plans
  • a greater certainty of the final building costs


Your application must include a clear description of the work you are proposing to carry out, a full set of plans and any other supporting documents.

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2. Building notice

If your building work does not affect the layout of the building and is not affected by RRO, you can submit a building notice instead of a full plans application.

As plans are not formally approved, our surveyors will check the regulations at site inspections, however, you lose the assurance of building in accordance with approved plans and there may be delays to your project if work is found not to comply.

You are required to provide the plans if we decide we need them to determine if the work complies with the building regulations. This will always be the case where a change in layout of any building is proposed. We will attempt to comment on your drawings in the same timescales as for full plans applications.


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3. Site inspections

You must tell us when you are starting work. Please do this on your application form or write or email the date to us at least 2 days before starting.

You must let us know about the early stages of the work (ie foundations, damp proof courses and underground drainage) particularly where the work will be concealed following inspection. We also encourage you to let us know when other works such as fire stopping, structural members and insulating materials may be inspected before being covered over.

In some cases we will want to witness or test that systems work. It is always advisable to have preliminary tests undertaken before we arrive, as delays will occur if a test fails.

You must also write or email to notify that works are completed. We will make a final inspection before we certify the works fully comply with the regulations and it is best to do this whilst the builder is on site.

4. Completion certificates

It is our policy to issue a completion certificate:

  • once all fees have been paid
  • as soon as a satisfactory final inspection has been made
  • once the work has been found to comply with the regulations

This certificate is a very important document when a property is to be sold. We usually send the certificate to the owner identified on the application form, but can send it to others if you ask us.

To make sure you receive your completion certificate promptly, please notify us of completion in good time and make sure you have paid all the fees due.

If needed, make a payment.

5. Regularisation certificates

Where unauthorised work has been completed the building owner may apply for a certificate to regularise the work.


You should include details of the work undertaken and a regularisation fee should accompany the application. 

We may ask for any concealed work to be exposed for our inspection and require further work to be carried out to comply with the regulations before we can issue a certificate.

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6. Works controlled under the regulations

Not all works undertaken by a builder are controlled under the building regulations. It is common for a 3rd of the value of a project to be uncontrolled works.

The definition of building works is given in the regulations.

7. Exempt buildings

The building regulations do mean that certain types of buildings are exempt from needing to make an application. These include:

  • detached buildings housing machinery or plant which people do not visit except for maintenance or repair
  • some greenhouses and agricultural buildings
  • small detached buildings under 30m2 where no sleeping accommodation is provided
  • extensions of a building by the addition at ground level (ie on its own foundations) of conservatories, canopies, porches, covered ways and car ports, all with a floor area not exceeding 30m2

The construction and distance from boundaries are controlled in some cases. See schedule 2 of the regulations for details.

8. Approved inspectors

It's possible to use private companies to supervise building works. Although not always locally based, these companies are able to check plans and supervise site work in a similar way to councils.

If the builder complies fully with the regulations, the inspector will provide a certificate, but if some of the work doesn't comply, the inspector will hand the job back to the council for further investigation.

Westminster is in direct competition with approved inspectors and strives to provide a better service at a lower cost to you.

Costs and levels of service vary, so it is sensible to shop around in the same way you would when selecting a building contractor. 

You're not obliged to use an inspector that has been recommended to you.

9. Special and temporary structures (section 30)

Certain special or temporary structures such as flag poles, flue pipes, temporary stands, stages or screens for special events, freestanding boundary walls greater than 1.8m in height require a consent to be erected.

To get consent, you will need to make an application. 

Once this has been submitted and checked a consent will be issued, usually with certain conditions attached, relating to the erection and maintenance of the structure and an expiry date when the structure must be removed.

After we register your application, we'll email you to tell you how and what you'll need to pay.


Make an application

Last updated: 2 December 2016