Many people get planning permission and building regulations approval confused or believe they are the same thing. In fact, planning permission is what allows you to carry out the development of your log cabin, whereas building regulations approval is all about safeguarding the work that is carried out, so that it meets certain standards and you can be reassured that your building is structurally safe.
Again, the rules with regards to building regulations are quite confusing, and while this page contains general guidelines, you should refer to your local authority with the details of your personal circumstances to be perfectly sure that you don’t require building regulations approval.
Typically, any garden structure or log cabin that has an internal floor area of less than 30m² is exempt from building regulations, unless it is intended to be used as a permanent dwelling, in which case it will require construction to meet housing standards. However – and this is important – any building that has external walls that are made of a combustible material (such as wood!) and has an internal floor area greater than 15m², must be placed a minimum of 1000mm from any third party boundary. This is a precautionary regulation to limit the risk of fire spreading between buildings. If this is difficult to arrange then you should speak to a building inspector from your local authority who will be able to make the appropriate recommendations to you.
If your chosen log cabin exceeds an internal floor area of 30m² then building regulations approval is required. This is a totally separate application to planning permission, and even if you have been granted planning permission, it doesn’t automatically mean you have building regulations approval.
Building regulations for garden structures involve 14 different areas of compliance. These include:
- Structural stability
- Materials, workmanship, site preparation and moisture exclusion
- Toxic substances
- Sound insulation
- Drainage/waste disposal
- Combustion appliances and fuel storage
- Protection from falling, collision and impact
- Conservation of fuel and power
- Access to and use of buildings
- Electrical safety
Not all of these sections will apply to your log cabin. For further information on each of the areas of compliance, please check out this government website. For anything else to do with building regulations approval, check out Planning Portal, the government’s web-based guide.