Skip to main content

When do you need building work approval?

This is the improved Camden website. Tell us what you think.


What does the term 'building work' mean?

For building regulation purposes, the term building work means any of the following:

  • the erection or extension of a building
  • an alteration to a building
  • the provision, extension or alteration of a controlled service or fitting
  • a material change of use of a building or part

Which application should I submit?

The LABC is a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents all local authority building control teams in England and Wales. It has a number of useful resources about building control and the building regulations:

The Planning Portal website can give advice on:

  • when you need approval
  • exemptions from building regulation
  • failure to comply with the building regulations
  • the difference between building regulations and planning permission

Basement development

You need approval for all excavation works or enlargements of a basement. They must meet Building Regulations and standards set out in the Housing Act 1985 for habitable accommodation.

For further advice, look at our guide for new basement development and extensions to existing basement accommodation.

Additional information may be needed when you submit a basement development application. This might be:

Find out more about basement developments


The Building Act 1984 allows local authorities to control demolition works for:

  • the protection of public safety and amenity
  • to ensure adjoining premises and the site are made good when demolition has ended.

If you intend to demolish a building, you are must notify us.

Complying with the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 applies to all demolition works.  Complying with the Party Wall etc Act 1996 applies for works to party walls, party fence walls and party structures.

Additional information may be needed when you submit a demolition application. This might include:

  • a method statement
  • consulting with the Development Control team when the building is to be demolished.

If any temporary road closures or alteration to pedestrian routes are necessary, please seek advice about traffic.

After submitting a demolition application

When we have received your application, we may visit the building. This is to determine whether conditions need to be imposed to:

  • control the process of demolition
  • the remedial works needed on adjoining buildings
  • the effect on services
  • the treatment of the site when finished.

Our Asset Management team will inspect the condition of the existing pavements and road surface. This is so that any damage as a result of the demolition may be reinstated. This will be at the expense of the person carrying out the demolition.

We have 6 weeks to issue our notice of conditions, but will aim to do this earlier wherever possible. It is unlawful to start demolition until this notice is given.

Site Inspections

Inspections will be made during the course of demolition and on completion, to ensure the conditions we impose are met.

We will charge you to recover expenses incurred for undertaking surveys and for issuing the notice of conditions.

Special or temporary structures

Certain special or temporary structures require consent under Section 30 of London Building Act (Amendments) Act 1939. These might be for example radio masts, stands for special events or tall free standing walls.

Consents may be of unlimited duration or renewable, depending on the durability of the structure.

Detached buildings and extensions

The following types of building work may be exempt from building regulations. This means an application for building control is not required.

Detached buildings

An exemption may apply for:

  • a detached single-storey building having a floor area not exceeding 30m2. This should contain no sleeping accommodation and have no point less than 1m from the boundary. It should be constructed substantially of non-combustible material.
  • a detached building, having a floor area not exceeding 15m2. This should contain no sleeping accommodation, for example a greenhouse or shed.


An exemption may apply for:

  • The extension of a building by the addition at ground level of:
    • a conservatory (that is not permanently open to the house)
    • porch
    • covered yard or covered way
    • a carport open on at least two sides where the floor area does not exceed 30m2.

In the case of a porch or conservatory, any glazing should meet the requirements of the Building Regulations. This means safety glass should be used in:

  • glazing in most doors and adjacent windows
  • windows with a sill level less than 800mm above floor level.