Making an application
If you intend to erect, alter or extend a building, to install services, fittings or works to a building, or to materially change the use of a building, you must first seek approval to do so from your district council. There are three ways to apply for building regulations approval with a set fee allocated to each:
Full Plans Submission - for proposed work to dwellings and non-domestic properties
Building Notice Application - for small/minor work to an existing dwelling
Regularisation Application - for work that has already been carried out to a dwelling or non-domestic property without getting prior approval
This page contains advice on how to submit an application under Building Regulations. It also has downloadable application forms and guidance notes.
A pre-submission consultation will provide you with all the information that is needed to help you through the approval and building process. A member of our team will be available to either have a meeting with you or to discuss your proposals over the phone. Pre-application and design stage consultation is free of charge and is encouraged to ensure the smooth operation of the building process. This consultation:
- Reduces project costs
- Avoids delays
- Creates awareness of building constraints
- Is impartial and provides for flexibility in design
- Can include liaison with others
Full Plans Application
A full plans application form must be submitted together with either three copies (domestic) or five copies (non-domestic) of full construction drawings/specification and the appropriate plan fee; the fee is paid in two parts and the inspection fee will be invoiced when the work starts.
After validation of plans the application will be assessed within 21 days (domestic properties) or 35 days (other properties) and a decision will be reached. If your application is APPROVED you, or your agent will be sent an ‘approval certificate’ and a stamped approved copy of your plans. Often, due to lack of information/detail, design problems, fire safety or other issues an approval cannot be considered and the application will be rejected. If your application is REJECTED you, or your agent, will be sent a ‘notice of rejection’. The notice will list the reasons for rejecting your application which, if fully addressed on amended plans within the given timeframe, will then be approved. If you have any concerns or issues with the rejection you will have the right of appeal.
Building Notice Application
Building Notices are most suitable for small, specific domestic building work, such as heating installations, structural alterations and extensions <10m².
A building notice application form must be submitted together with the appropriate fee. The fee must be paid when you make the application. Drawings are not required to be submitted however additional information may be requested depending on the complexity of the work. Any information you provide is not formally assessed therefore a notice of approval will not be issued however an acknowledgement certificate will be issued indicating that we have received the application and details of how Council should be notified at certain stages of work.
This application is used when work that has already been carried out to a property but an application for Building Regulations approval was not made.
The fee for a regularisation certificate is 20% more than the fee would be today if you applied for approval for the work before it was started. Work will be inspected to ensure it meets the building regulations current at the time it was carried out. If satisfactory a regularisation certificate will be issued.
When can I start work?
Work can start as soon as you have made a valid application but you have a legal responsibility to notify the Building Control Department at least 48hours before work is due to commence and at various stages during the works. Building control officers will carry out statutory inspections at certain stages of building work, following notification, to ensure that the work complies with the requirements of building regulations, however the role of the Building Control Officer is not to act as designer or site agent. They may also serve a contravention notice where they discover work that does not comply with the regulations
If you have made a full plans application, getting approval before starting work is advisable as it will give you some protection against having to make any costly amendments on-site.
When a building is completed, all fees are paid and the Council have been able to ascertain, after taking all reasonable steps in that behalf, that relevant requirements of building regulations have been satisfied, the Council shall issue a Completion Certificate. This shall be evidence (but not conclusive evidence) that the relevant requirements specified in the certificate have been complied with
If work is carried out without an application having been made you may be prosecuted. Furthermore, should you wish to sell your property the purchaser's solicitor will wish to see evidence of approval. If these are not available it may delay or prevent the sale.
Your proposed works may also require permission from Council's Planning Department.
If your house is listed then permission to carry out any sort of alteration should be obtained by contacting the Historic Monuments and Buildings branch of the Department of the Environment in Belfast. Tel: (028) 9023 5000.
If you would like further information, please contact us at our Limavady Office, 7 Connell Street, Limavady, BT49 0HA.
Tel: 028 7776 0301