The difference between planning permission and building regulations

When you carry out building work or make alterations to your property, you may need both:

  • planning permission
  • building regulations approval

We can help you to understand how these permissions are different.

Planning permission

Planning guides the way in which our countryside, towns and cities are designed and developed.

This includes:

  • how we make use of land or space
  • buildings and their appearance
  • landscaping
  • road access
  • the impact on the environment

Most new buildings, developments or changes to buildings are likely to need planning permission.

Building regulations

Building regulations are rules that cover the construction, design, alteration and extension of most buildings.

Building regulations cover:

  • health and safety
  • fuel and power use
  • building access
  • access for disabled people

You'll need a building regulations application for many home improvements as well as for commercial or non-residential properties.

Find out more about applying for building regulations.