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What is the difference between planning and building control?

New house in BroxbourneIt is generally realised that a form of permission is required from the Council for building works or alterations to properties; however, it may not always be clear how the Planning and Building Regulations approval regimes differ.


Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health and safety for people in or around those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel, power and water are conserved and that facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.


Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land and buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment. For more information about planning please see the planning pages.


For many types of building work, separate permission under both regimes (separate processes) will be required. For other building work, such as internal alterations, Buildings Regulations approval will probably be needed, but planning permission may not be. For certain types of building works you may also have responsibilities under the construction health and safety regulations.