So what are the building regulations then?
If planning is about what you want to do the building regulations are about how you are going to do it. You are required to demonstrate, using one of two methods, how you are going to construct a safe and habitable building. It is all about concrete, lintels, steel beams, insulations, timber sizes, and so on.
One of the methods is called a Building Notice application. In practice this method is only really suitable for the simplest of projects. Using the Building Notice method those doing the work demonstrate compliance to the inspecting Building Control Officer, (BCO), as work progresses. There is no method of compliance agreed beforehand, it is done ‘on the fly’. If situations arise where the contractor and BCO cannot agree a method of compliance the BCO may ask for calculations or a design drawing from a structural engineer. Work may be held up while the required information is produced, checked and agreed.
The other method of showing compliance is called a Full Plans application. With this method a specification for construction is prepared beforehand and presented in the form of documents, drawings and calculations to building control for examination, and hopefully, approval. The intended method of construction
is agreed beforehand, all the contractor has to do is build to the approved specification. Barring unforeseen problems,(usually below ground if there are any), the work should proceed without interruption or delay.
Unlike planning, where you would be very ill advised to commence work before your application is granted, you can start work on your project while your building regulation application is still under consideration by building control.
Even though building control have not approved your application they will still make the site inspections required as work proceeds.