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Building Control Regulations (Business)

Building Control Regulations

Building Regulations are a set of performance standards for the design and construction of buildings.  They ensure buildings deal with accessibility to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, be thermally efficient, energy efficient and reduce pollution to protect the environment and deal with the safety and health of people in and around the building.  Anyone who is carrying out building work is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations.

They are arranged in 15 parts with Parts B to V referring to technical booklets which give guidance:

  • Part A: Interpretation and general
  • Part B: Materials and workmanship
  • Part C: Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
  • Part D: Structure
  • Part E: Fire safety
  • Part F1 & Part F2: Conservation of fuel and power
  • Part G: Resistance to the passage of sound
  • Part H: Stairs, ramps, guarding and protection from impact
  • Part J: Solid waste in buildings
  • Part K: Ventilation
  • Part L: Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  • Part N: Drainage
  • Part P: Sanitary appliances, unvented hot water storage systems and reducing the risk of scalding
  • Part R: Access to and the use of buildings
  • Part V: Glazing

In most cases, if you follow the guidance contained within these, your building will meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.

You must apply for Building Regulations approval if you want to carry out works such as:

  • construct a building i.e. a new home, office, shop
  • make structural alterations to a building, e.g. remove a load-bearing wall or a chimney breast, replacing existing walls, floors, roofs, stairs
  • build an extension on an existing building
  • convert a roof-space to be used as storage or an extra room
  • install fittings or services in a building, e.g. installing or converting a central-heating system or fitting a stove
  • install solar panels or other renewable-energy technology
  • alter or install drainage or provide new sanitary accommodation such as a toilet or bathroom
  • make material change of use to a building, e.g. convert offices into flats
  • provide access ramps and other facilities for people with disabilities
  • install cavity-wall insulation or roof-space insulation
  • convert a conservatory roof to a tiled or slated roof etc

You may also need planning permission for this work, so please make sure to contact our Planning Service also.

You may not need to make an application for some work but they will still need to meet the Building Regulations standards.  You must make sure the builder or contractor constructs them correctly.  Even if you do not need to make a Building Control application you may need planning approval. Please check this with our Planning Service.

Conservatories – a room is defined as a conservatory if more than three-quarters of its roof area and more than one-half of its external walls are made of translucent material such as glass.  Conservatories do not need an application if the:

  • floor area less than 30m
  • area is separated from main building by exterior quality doors to retain the thermal performance of the building
  • construction gives resistance to moisture and other ground contaminants that may be required by Part C of the Building Regulations
  • safety glazing is used if needed (Part V of the Building Regulations), and
  • heating is not extended into it and a fixed heating appliance is not installed
  • you need to make a Building Control application to convert an existing conservatory roof into a solid tiled or slated roof

You may need planning permission for a conservatory.

Porches – a domestic porch must have a door into the building and an external door out of it.  Porches do not need an application if the:

  • floor area less than 5m²
  • construction provides resistance to moisture and other ground contaminants that may be required by Part C of the Building Regulations
  • safety glazing is used if needed (Part V of the Building Regulations), and
  • heating is not extended into it and a fixed heating appliance is not installed

You may need planning permission for a porch.

Greenhouses – Domestic greenhouses are exempt.  You may need planning permission for a domestic greenhouse.

Carports – you do not need an application if:

  • it is open on at least 2 sides and has a floor area of less than 30m²
  • covered area or covered way with a floor area less than 30m²

You may need planning permission for a carport.

Small Detached Building – you do not require an application if:

  • detached single storey building with a floor area up to 15m², not used for sleeping and which is at least 1m from a dwelling
  • detached single storey building (such as a domestic garage) with a floor area up to 30m², not used for sleeping and is either 1m or more from any dwelling or boundary, or else constructed substantially from non-combustible materials (such as with brick walls and a tiled roof)

You may need planning permission for a small detached building.

If you carry out building work without the appropriate approval you could face:

  • enforcement action against you – you will have to make the appropriate application and may face court proceedings and fines
  • additional costs – you may have to pay to make alterations or remove the works you have done
  • you may not be able to sell or re-mortgage your home

We have a statutory duty to enforce the building regulations subject to and in accordance with The Building Regulations (NI) Order 1979 (as amended).

Where work is carried out in contravention of the building regulations we will seek to ensure that appropriate remedial works are implemented.  Compliance with the regulations will usually be achieved through discussion and correspondence with the applicant and/or builder. In circumstances however where remedial works to abate contraventions are not carried out we may have to resort to a more formal approach.

When someone fails to comply with the building regulations they will have committed an offence and in such circumstances we could take action to prosecute the offender.  Rather than resorting to court action in the first instance we will usually first serve a Contravention Notice and only if the terms of the Notice have not been met will prosecution follow.

The following guidance is for applicants, designers and builders who are involved with building projects in the borough and who have received a Contravention Notice.

Our obligations

When works on site are undertaken those works are evaluated against the Building Regulations. Article 18 of The Building Regulations Order (NI) 1979 (as amended) states that where works contravene any of the Building Regulations a council may serve a notice on the owner requiring the owner to pull down or remove the work or carry out such work that would make it comply.

Our first notification about observed contraventions of the Building Regulations is usually through a letter following a site inspection (a letter listing observed contraventions).  This letter should be regarded as a warning and should be taken seriously.  It is normally used to allow a reasonable time for works to be carried out to remove the contravention.  However, there may be occasions that due to the severity of the contravention, this letter may not be sent and a Contravention Notice sent in the first instance.

Contravention Notice

If the contravention is not resolved a Contravention Notice will be served on the owner.  As the Contravention Notice is enforced through the magistrate’s court we consider this formal notification a last resort.

Article 18 of the Building Regulations Order (N.I.) 1979 (as amended) also permits us to serve a Contravention Notice on other persons including the occupier; the builder; the person causing the work to be done; or any other person appearing to have control over the work.

If after 28 days following the serving of the notice the person fails to comply with the notice, we have the right to carry out works that remove the contravention and recover from that person reasonable costs incurred by the council.  Alternatively we can action the Contravention Notice through court.

We can at any time withdraw the Contravention Notice without prejudice to serve another. If the council withdraws a notice it will give notification of the withdrawal to the person on whom the Contravention Notice was served.

Obtaining a report

Upon receiving a Contravention Notice the person served with the notice can notify us of their intention to submit a written report from a suitably qualified person concerning work to which the Contravention Notice relates.

  • we must be notified in writing of the intention to submit a written report within 28 days of the notice being served
  • we must receive the written report within 56 days of the contravention notice having been served
  • we must notify the responsible person in writing that as a result of its consideration of the report it intends to either: –
    • withdraw the Contravention Notice (we may pay reasonable expenses incurred as a result of having served the notice including, in particular, the expense incurred in obtaining the report); or
    • proceed with the Contravention Notice

Upon receipt of a Contravention Notice you have 28 days within which to lodge a written appeal to the Department of Finance against our decision.  Where a report has been obtained the 28 days period is extended to 70 days from serving of the notice

The written appeal must clearly indicate the grounds of the appeal and be sent to the address below with a copy to us.

Department of Finance
Building Standards Branch
Properties Division
Enterprise Shared Services
Northland House
3-5a Frederick Street
Belfast BT1 2NR

Receipt of Appeal

Once we are notified of the appeal by the Department of Finance, we will forward a copy of the application details, including all documents given to us by you as part of your application, to them.  At the same time we will make a written submission regarding the appeal to the Department.  A copy of this submission will be sent to you.

Hearing of Appeal

The Department of Finance upon receipt of all documentation will decide upon the appeal.


The Department of Finance’s determination of the appeal will either –

  • confirm the Contravention Notice; or
  • direct the council to withdraw the Contravention Notice

In all cases the Department of Finance’s decision is final and conclusive, the only exception being on a point of law.

Question of Law

The Department of Finance and Personnel can refer any question of law relating to the appeal to the Court of Appeal.  When it does this the Department of Finance will notify both you and us of its intention.

Where either party is aggrieved by the Department’s decision and the Department has not referred it to the Court of Appeal, then either party has the right to do so on a point of law.

The decision of the Court of Appeal on a point of law is final.

Our Letter accompanying the Contravention Notice provides the following information:

  • that there is a right of appeal
  • the period within which the appeal must be made
  • the address to which the appeal should be sent
  • that the appeal to the Department of Finance must set out the grounds of appeal
  • that a copy of the appeal is to be sent to the council
  • details of where guidance can be obtained

A Contravention Notice will give the offender a period of 28 days to rectify the works.

If the person on whom the Notice has been served disagrees with the Notice they will have two alternatives: –

Seek advice from the a suitably qualified person and if they tell us they intend to do this the 28 day period specified in the Contravention Notice is extended to 70 days.  If they obtain a report from a suitably qualified person, such a report must be submitted to us within 56 days from the date on the Contravention Notice.  As a result of consideration of the report we will either withdraw the Contravention Notice or confirm it.