Building Control

Building Regulations are concerned with the constructional details of buildings and set down minimum standards, to safeguard the health and safety of persons in and around buildings. They are also concerned with conserving fuel and power and providing facilities for people with a disability.

Building Regulations are applied by all local authorities and approved inspectors in England and Wales.

More about Building Regulations and when they apply:

Remember to look for Building Regulations guidance on the Planning Portal website

Harlow Council's Building Control Service

Harlow Council's Building Control Service provides a fast, efficient, quality service for your construction project.

Our officers carry out inspections of work in progress which is the most important part of the process to ensure that appropriate standards have been met. Notice must Image of building worksbe given at various stages of construction so that the Council's Building Control Officer can inspect the work. Inspection requests may be made by telephone and those placed before 10.00am are normally dealt with the same day.

For large or complex projects a development team approach is preferred, where we are involved at the preliminary design stage and are able to give extensive pre-submission advice. For more information please see below.

Contact us

  • For an appointment - Building Control Officers are available for discussions at the Civic Centre between 8.30am and 10.00am or 3.00pm and 3.30pm by appointment only. No matter what the size of the project, pre-submission discussions are welcome as these can speed up plan checking and resolve issues before they become problems on site
  • For general enquiries and to book an appointment: Contact Harlow, or please call 01279 446859 / 446853 / 446827
  • For general enquiries email:

Obtaining Building Regulations Approval

There are two methods by which you may seek Building Regulations Approval:

  1. Full Plans Submission
  2. Building Notice


Tenants and leaseholders of Council properties will require the landlords permission prior to undertaking any alterations. More information on Council tenant and Leaseholder home alterations

Full Plans

A full plans application is where you submit detailed plans, specifications and, where needed, calculations to the Council. These are then checked to make sure the design meets the requirements of the Building Regulations. If they do, an approval notice will be issued to you. If they don’t, a letter will be sent to you or your agent (if you are using one). This will explain what further information needs to be provided or how the plans need to be altered. Once the plans have been correctly altered, an approval notice will be issued to you.

A full plans application can be used for all types of building work. When works start on site, you can be sure that as long as you build in accordance with the approved plans the work will comply with the Building Regulations. You will need to inform the Council when you intend to start work. The following information should be provided:

  • The appropriate application forms,
  • A 1:1250 scale site plan,
  • Detailed plans to a suitable scale (1:50, 1:100, 1:200) showing drainage and sewers, layout, elevations and sections,
  • The appropriate fee, and
  • A detailed written specification of the construction.

Building Notice

No formal approval of plans is given and the work is checked mainly through site inspection. Therefore you should be confident that the work you carry out on site will comply as there will not be any approved drawings to refer to. You may commence work 48 hours after giving the building notice. However you must inform the Council when the work will be starting to enable an inspection to be carried out.

The Building Notice procedure enables work to be carried out without the need to supply detailed plans. This procedure can only be used for applications relating to domestic buildings and requires the submission of:

  • The appropriate application form, and
  • The appropriate fee.

You may still be asked to provide a certain level of detail by the Council in order to arrive at a decision.

Application forms, schedules of fees and online records

Online submissions

Building Regulations submissions may also be made on line via The LABC (Local Authority Building Control) portal. To begin the process you will need to register.

Building Control in Essex

Further information on Local Authority Building Control throughout Essex and contact details can be found by visiting the Essex Building Surveyors Association website

Other useful information can be found on the British Geological Society website 


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Related pages and general information