Most people realise that they may need approval for their proposed building work but don’t always understand the difference between building regulations and planning permission. You might need one or the other, both, or neither, but you must find out before you start any work.
Planning is interested in the way our towns, cities and countryside is developed. This includes the appearance of buildings, the use of land & landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment. Planning permission is NOT usually required for most internal alterations, for some extensions, some loft conversions or some garages.
Building Regulations deal mainly with health and safety matters in the interest of the people who will use the building. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.
If you are in any doubt about whether you need to apply for planning permission or building regulations approval, please check with us before you start any work.
The type of work you intend to carry out will determine if you need planning permission, the type of application you need to make and if you need building regulation approval.
Our planning office, located at
23a Castlewellan Road,
Opening from 9.30am – 4.30pm on Mon – Wed & Fri and from 10.30am – 4.30pm on Thursday. From here you can pick up an application form, submit a completed application, pay fees and check the status of an application.
To make additions or extensions to a flat or maisonette (including those converted from houses). (You do not need planning permission to carry out internal alterations or work which does not affect the external appearance of the building.)
To divide off part of your house for use as a separate home (for example, a self-contained flat or bed-sit) or use a caravan in your garden as a home for someone else. (You do not need planning permission to let one or two of your rooms to lodgers so long as the main use remains that of a private residence.)
To build a separate house in your garden
To divide off part of your home for business or commercial use (for example, a workshop) or you want to build a parking place for a commercial vehicle at your home.
To build something which goes against the terms of the original planning permission for your house – for example, your house may have been built with a restriction to stop people putting up fences in front gardens because it is on an “open plan” estate. Planning Service has a record of all planning permissions in your area
The work you want to do might obstruct the view of road users
The work would involve a new or wider access to a trunk or classified road
Other small changes, for example putting up walls and fences below a certain height, have a general planning permission for which a specific application is not required.
If you are unsure if you require planning permission, you should discuss your proposals with us or Planning Service Headquarters before you begin any work.
If you’d like to speak to our planning committee about a planning application. You will need to have the application reference number and you must submit the request before mid-day 2 days before the committee meeting.
Work can start as soon as you have received approval of a valid application. It is suggested that you get plans approved before works start to give you some protection against having to make costly alterations if your drawings submitted happen not to comply with the Building Regulations. You must tell us when you are starting the work and request site inspections at various stages.
When all building regulation fees have been paid, the work is complete and we are satisfied with it, you will be issued a completion certificate confirming that it meets Building Regulations.
Suitable for work on domestic and non-domestic properties. Some minor work to domestic properties may be covered by a building notice application.
Full plans applications are required for projects such as:
building a new property
changing the use of a property (e.g. converting a dwelling into an office or a shop)
conversion of a house into flats
an extension where the floor area of the dwelling is increased by more than 10m², or
an extension that creates a new storey greater than 3m² in floor area and requires access by stairs, for example a roof-space conversion
Along with a full plans application, you must provide duplicate copies of the full construction drawings of your proposals, a location map, an estimated cost of works and the fee for the application. This is paid in two parts, the plan fee when you make your application and an inspection fee when the work starts.
We then assess the plans and aim to deal with your application as promptly as possible. Your application will then either be approved, rejected or you will be asked for more information.
Approved – We will send you/your agent approval documents which include a ‘notice of approval’ and a stamped, approved copy of your drawings.
Rejected – We will send you/your agent a rejection notice. The notice will list the reasons for rejecting your application and will give details of the appeals procedure. Rejection may be because, for example, your application does not contain enough information or detail, has design problems, or does not cover fire-safety issues correctly. New drawings/designs correcting any issues needs to be submitted before your application can be approved.
A Building Notice application can be used for works of a minor nature to domestic dwellings without the submission of fully designed plans.
The use of a Building Notice cannot be used for:
the erection of a new dwelling
the change of use from an existing dwelling
an extension of a domestic dwelling where the floor area is increased by more than 10m²
an extension to create a new storey in a dwelling (roof space conversion) which will be accessed by a fixed stair
commercial or industrial work
Although fully designed drawings are not necessarily always required with a Building Notice application, we may ask for information such as structural calculations or thermal performance specifications to ensure that the proposed works meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.
We will issue a completion certificate for the works following the satisfactory assessment and completion of the works on site confirming their compliance with the building regulations.
Building notice application form and guidance notes:
Suitable when work has already been carried out to a property but building regulations approval had not been applied for before it was done. The work is inspected to ensure it meets the building regulations that were in place at the time it was carried out and if it does a regularisation certificate (retrospective approval) is issued.
Please note: the fee for a regularisation certificate is 20% more than it would have been if you had applied for approval for the work before it was started.
Regularisation application form and guidance notes: