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Planning Permission V Building Control Approval

Client's often ask me what's the difference between applying for Planning Permission and Building Control Approval? I will explain a little through drawings from one of my projects.


Firstly you will need to agree on the concept drawings.

  • how you will use the space

  • what it will look like

  • whether there will be enough light inside

  • what building materials you'll use.

Your needs form the basis of any Planning Application. Basically Planning Service will require plans and elevations showing the external finishes of the building, the size, position of windows, height of the building, context within the site showing adjoining buildings (if any). They do not go into more detail than that. As an example here's one of my plans submitted to the Planning Service for approval recently.

Applying for Planning Permission - Plan


After obtaining Planning Permission then the next stage is to apply for Building Control Approval through your local Council. If you are carrying out building work, it is very important that this work complies with the regulations and as a professional I'm here to assist with this.

Some kinds of building projects are exempt from the regulations, however generally if you are carrying out 'building work' then it must comply with the building regulations. This means that the regulations will probably apply if you want to:​

  • erect or extend a building

  • install or extend services or fittings which are controlled under the regulations

  • make an alteration to your home relating to structure, fire, or access

  • underpin foundations

  • carry out works affecting the thermal elements, energy status or energy performance of a building

  • replace double-glazing (as these must not make compliance worse in relation to means of escape, air supply for combustion appliances and ventilation for health)

  • change the use of an existing building. (which may result in the building as a whole no longer complying with regulations)

When applying for Building Control Approval a lot more information is required to confirm to the Council that the building works comply with current regulations. Information such as structure, drainage, ventilation provisions, insulation properties, means of escape, dimensions, staircase compliance, smoke / heat and carbon monoxide detection etc. A full written specification should also be included with the drawings and details.

Here's the same plan as above but this time prepared for a recent Building Control Application.

Applying for Building Control Approval - Plan

Together with plans, elevations, sections and a full written specification it's crucial that details are also provided. It's equally important that a builder has these to follow, ensuring compliance and that the building works are constructed to the highest quality.

Construction detail

Trust this has explained a little about the difference between applying for Planning Permission and Building Control Approval.

If you need any advice or would like to discuss your project please feel free to contact me and many thanks for reading my blog! Glenn

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