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Chapter 2 - Regulations

Regulations and Legislation are the legal requirements imposed on building work by Government and Local Councils. Details may vary however they are broadly similar across the UK. Your design professionals can make submissions and conduct negotiations with Local Councils where necessary on your behalf but cannot guarantee outcomes outside of their control.

The five key requirements to be aware of are:

Planning permission

Planning permission concerns the impact of a building on its surroundings. For houses it mostly concerns location, size, the outward appearance including materials and style, issues around water management/ supply, waste water and flooding, and traffic and access issues.

A structural engineer will be able to advise property owners on the structural feasibility and affordability of their proposals before submitting an application. This may assist in establishing and managing budgets.

Building control

Building Regulations (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Building Standards (Scotland) set out minimum technical criteria for building work, covering aspects of safety as well as energy efficiency and accessibility.

A structural engineer can assist in an application by: ensuring the designs meet the criteria; assisting with the paperwork; and can, if requested, oversee that the builder follows through with the construction in accordance with the designs.

Works to a party wall or adjacent to your property boundary

In its simplest form, where a wall straddles or sits immediately adjacent to your property boundary or there is a structure providing support to an adjacent property, certain formal procedures need to be undertaken.

Your structural engineer may be a Party Wall Surveyor; alternatively they or an architectural designer may be able to recommend or engage a Party Wall Surveyor where Party Wall advice is required.

Listed Building and Conservation Area consent

If your property is classified as a Listed Building, you will need to apply for Listed Building consent prior to starting any renovation work. Equally, if your property or site is within a classified Conservation Area, you must apply for Conservation Area consent.

Both processes are extensions to a planning application and may require little structural technical design input. However, subsequent work on historic structures will often require specialist professionals familiar with historic materials and methods of construction.

The following register was set up with exactly this in mind:


Safety is crucial in all aspects of a building project and there are various rules and regulations that must be complied with. Your experienced team will be able to advise you.

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