Do we need retrospective building regulation approval?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, answers your questions
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Question: We bought a house three years ago, carried out a kitchen and rear room single-storey extension, paid a fee and informed the local council building department. However we didn't inform building control about a small toilet/ shower fitted under the stairs. Should we have obtained permission? If so, what can we do now to fulfil our obligations?

Answer: If you just carried out a refit of the loo and shower by replacing existing fittings or units, building regulation approval would not generally be necessary.

However, you appear to have installed a shower and a loo where there was neither before, so building regulation approval is likely to be necessary to ensure that the drainage and ventilation are adequate, and that structural, electrical and fire and safety standards have been met.

You have contravened rules which could have health and safety implications, and there could be repercussions if you try to sell your property. You should try to obtain building regulation approval retrospectively by applying for a regularisation certificate. Complete an application form, pay the fee and provide any drawings or other technical information you have which shows the work was done properly.

A building control officer will inspect the work, notify you of any defects or further work needed, re-inspect if necessary and, once the officer is satisfied, a regularisation certificate will be issued. Then all will be well and you can safely use the facilities.



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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.



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