Advice and guidance

Find more information, advice and guidance about building control services here.

The Planning Portal website contains comprehensive information regarding all aspects of Building Regulations (and Planning Permission).

The Building​ Regulations apply not only to the construction of new domestic and commercial buildings but also to the alteration and extension of existing buildings and upon the change of use of certain properties.

A Building Regulation explanatory booklet is available online or from the Building Control section.

The building control procedure

The LABC guide to extending your home is now available and offers advice for homeowners who are looking to extend their property.

Once an application has been submitted​, a Building Surveyor will examine your proposals to ensure they satisfy the Building Regulations 2010 (as amended)​.

The construction industry is constantly interpreting the Regulations and reviewing sol​​utions, consequently, there is often more than one way of satisfying the requirements to achieve compliance.

Therefore, the majority of plans need some corrections and the Surveyor will contact yourself or your agent to clarify, discuss and resolve any outstanding items in order that a Notice of Passing of Building Plans can be issued at the earliest opportunity.

We prefer to do this at the design stage rather than involve building owners in costly and time consuming changes during construction of the project.

We are able, at your request, to grant an approval subject to specified conditions allowing you to submit certain outstanding details at a future date.

This is particularly useful when information (such as structural calculations) is not available at the time of making a Building Regulation application.

Ongoing building work will be checked for compliance until found to be satisfactory.

Site inspections may produce agreed actions for the builder to correct enabling a completion certificate to be issued.

In these ways, we help people to understand the reasons for the Building Regulation requirements, discuss design options and agree reasonable solutions.

The majority of issues are resolved without dispute. This fulfils our enforcement role, but it is achieved in a co-operative, non-confrontational and professional way.

The Building Control Section does not work in isolation. We are in close contact with colleagues providing other Council services that may have some impact on your application.

This close contact enables us where necessary to provide a Development team or one stop shop approach to applications.

If you have a query, require pre-submission advice, need guidance at any stage of the design process including how to apply for approval, or for a fee quotation, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Building Control team.

Public sewers

The ownership and maintenance of many private sewers and drains now rests with Northumbrian Water Authority. In practice, this means that the property owner is responsible for drains within the curtilage of and serving their property only; ownership of virtually all other pipes belongs to Northumbrian Water.

If you consider, or are unsure whether existing or new drains will be affected by your proposals or the ownership of the drainage system, or require the relocation of any manholes as part of the development, please contact NWL for advice.

Ideally this should be prior to work commencing so that any issues relating to connections, access, protection etc. can be resolved without affecting the progress of work on site.

Details can be found on the Northumbrian Water website, by phoning 0191 4196643 or by contacting Northumbria Water by email.

The Party Wall Act

Unfortunately, there is one area where we are unable to offer advice other than the following guidance. This comprises work covered by the Party Wall Act 1996 - a separate piece of legislation with diff​erent requirements to the Building Regulations.

It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls, excavations and construction near neighbouring buildings.

We would advise you to understand your obligations under​ the Act to notify adjoining owners and be aware of the circumstances under which a dispute can arise.

Party Wall Act explanatory booklet is available for further information. It aims to explain in simple terms how the Act may affect the "Building Owner" who wishes to carry out work covered by the Act or receives notification under the Act from the "Adjoining Owner" of proposed adjacent work.

Please remember that reaching agreement with the Adjoining Owner under the Act does not remove the possible need to apply for planning permission or to comply with Building Regulation procedures.

Conversely, gaining planning permission or complying with the Building Regulations does not remove the need to comply with the Act where it is applicable.

Electrical installations to dwellings

Find a registered electrician online by visiting the Electrical Safety First website.

For general advice, guidance and information in easy to understand formats, visit the Electrical Safety First website.