Work which requires a building warrant

You generally need a building warrant if you intend to build, alter, extend or demolish a building. Some types of work are exempt though.

A building warrant will normally be required to:

  • build a new home
  • extend your home
  • build or remove load bearing walls
  • alter roofs, external walls or other structural elements
  • convert a loft or garage into a room
  • demolish a building

It's an offence to commence work which requires building warrant approval without first obtaining the relevant permission.

Apply for a building warrant

Exempt work

Certain works are classed as exempt and don't require building warrant approval. Exempt work includes:

  • buildings or work controlled by other legislation
  • buildings or work not frequented by people
  • agricultural and related buildings
  • civil engineering construction
  • buildings of a specialised nature
  • certain small buildings
  • construction and development buildings
  • temporary buildings
  • buildings ancillary to houses
  • buildings ancillary to flats or maisonettes
  • paved areas

Some other types of work won't require a building warrant but it's still important to stress that there's still a legal requirement to comply with the building regulations. This could include work on:

  • a fixed combustion appliance installation or other part of a heating installation
  • a balanced flue serving a room-sealed appliance
  • pipework, radiators, convector heaters and thermostatic controls
  • relocating any sanitary facility within the same room or space
  • installing a stairlift
  • installing an extractor fan
  • thermal insulating material to or within a wall, ceiling, roof or floor
  • a wall not exceeding 1.2 metres in height
  • a fence not exceeding 2 metres in height
  • constructing a ramp not exceeding 5 metres in length

The Scottish Government's technical handbooks provide more detail.

Check with us

Always check if you need to apply for a building warrant or satisfy building regulations before starting any work.

You can ask us for advice before submitting an application or starting work:

We can provide written confirmation (often called a letter or comfort) that the work you intend to carry out is exempt from the building regulations or doesn't require a warrant. It costs £175 for a letter confimring an exemption and we'll need some detailed information about the work, contact us to discuss your request.

Page last updated: 07/05/2019
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