Are you looking into building work or altering your property?

If you are, it’s necessary for you to understand building regulations as well as planning permission approval from your local council. Some people lump these two things in together but they are actually entirely separate steps of the building process.

Have you ever wondered what the difference between the two actually is? There are times where you may need both, one or the other, or neither for your project, so let’s delve a little deeper and take a look at the main differences between the two.

Planning permission

Put simply, planning is a way to plot out how the new project will develop and use the surrounding space. It deals with how the land is used, what buildings and landscaping look like, and overall how the new project fits into the town, city or countryside’s current environment.

It is usually best to wait for planning permission before you submit an application for building regulation. Planning permissions ensure that the development is designed well, that the location is suitable and that it will not do any harm to neighboring establishments, buildings or dwellings.

You may be required to get different permissions for different types of building work and there are some projects you may not be required to obtain Planning permission consent!

For instance, for internal alterations, you will need Building Regulations but not Planning permission. Minor building works or permitted developments don’t need planning permission. In any instance, be sure to check in with your local council to confirm you’ve got everything you need to get started.

Obtaining Planning permission can take two months at the very least, therefore it’s essential to include that into your project timeline, in fact it could be a good idea to get contractor quotes during this period if you haven’t yet agreed with one already. To sum up, Planning permissions requirements entail the following:

  • The sighting
  • The height and size of the building in question
  • The percentage of the plot that you will be building on
  • What the remaining space will be used for
  • Policies regarding appearances and materials

Building regulations

Once you have Planning permission to build, you will need to complete Building Regulations in order to ensure that what you are building is fit for its purpose. This part of the process is all about the standards in place for the design and construction of the buildings. The main focus of Building Regulations is safety and health that applies to the people who will work or live in those buildings.

They include requirements such as:

  • How fuel and power will be used and conserved
  • How the disabled will access and move around in the building
  • The structural stability of the building including its foundation
  • Elements and inclusions for fire and damage safety
  • The way the drainage and waste disposal systems work as well as other hygienic concerns
  • Details about electrical and water safety
  • Standards for how will the building is both insulated and ventilated


To summarise you may need both planning permission and building regulations approval before you begin construction, but it is important to remember that Planning permissions must be approved first. Remember – it is your responsibility as the developer to refer to your local council and establish what type of permissions you need.

If you don’t comply with these regulations, you may be looking at some troublesome roadblocks. If the build is classified as unauthorized; you may suffer legal consequences, submit to inspection, be fined or even required to take the building down and we’ve seen this before!

If you tried to sell the building and the regulations are not met or approved, it will be unlikely for the property to gain interest in the market and the insurance could also be invalidated.

Well, there you have it! The difference between Planning permissions and Building Regulations. We hope you now have a better understanding of this information as it’s essential to getting your project off the ground.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact a member of our team who will be happy to assist you further!

Also check out these useful sources for more information: