Common Building Control Terms and What They Mean

Common Building Control Terms and What They Mean

There’s plenty of jargon in the world of construction. We’ve put together this handy glossary that explains some of the common terms you may come across if work is taking place at your home.

Approved Documents

Approved Documents set out how compliance with the building regulations can be achieved. There is an Approved Document for each section of the building regulations, for example Approved Document L: Conservation of fuel and power for Part L of the regulations.

Approved Inspector

An Approved Inspector is a private building control body authorised by the Construction Industry Council to carry out the building control process. They are a regulated alternative to using the local authority’s building control department.

Building Control

The UK’s building regulations make it a requirement that a project’s compliance is independently verified – this is where building control comes in. A building control surveyor checks that building work complies with the regulations.

Building Regulations

In the UK, building regulations are the minimum standards for the design, construction and alterations to almost all buildings. They ensure that buildings are fit for purpose, safe to use and are energy efficient.


CABE is the Chartered Association of Building Engineers. Building control inspectors often use this organisation to become certified and Chartered to demonstrate their expertise and capabilities to do their job.


CICAIR is the Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register. This body is responsible for regulating Approved Inspectors and carrying out regular auditing processes to make sure any private building control bodies are adhering to a strict code of conduct that allows them to carry out their work properly.


CIOB is the Chartered Institute of Building. Like CABE mentioned above, CIOB is often the professional body of choice for building control inspectors to demonstrate their expertise.

Final Certificate

When construction work takes place, a final certificate will be issued by the building control body at the end of the process to certify the project has adhered to the building regulations.

Final Inspection

To issue the final certificate, a final inspection will need to take place. This is when your building inspector carries out the final checks to ensure all work has taken place in line with the regulations.

Initial Notice

Before construction work can take place, the local authority must be informed if you are choosing to use an Approved Inspector. This is know as giving an Initial Notice. The Initial Notice must be accepted before work can take place. It is automatically deemed as accepted after five working days have passed.

Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act 1996 covers work that takes place on party walls, along or astride the boundary lines between different properties and excavations that take place close to a neighbouring building. The Act outlines the rights of both the owner of the property where work is taking place and the adjoining owner.

We explain more in our article: Party Walls, Your Questions Answered

Planning Permission

Planning permission aims to guide the way areas develop and includes the way buildings appear and are used and the impact that the construction will have on the surrounding environment.

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