What is planning and how is it different to Building Control?
Planning permission and Building Control are different processes and sometimes you need approvals from both areas. Planning is generally the stage before Building Control, although sometimes a building will need to be approved by Building Control but not need planning permission. It is best to check the Planning Portal for all issues relating to planning. The Portal can be used by anyone in England and Wales wanting to either find out information about the planning system or make a planning application.

Why is Planning covered by both District and County Council in Hertfordshire?
In Hertfordshire there are eleven planning authorities (one for each District Council and one is the County Council).

The County Council deal with planning applications for minerals (e.g. for a quarry) and waste (e.g. a recycling facility). Learn more about waste and minerals planning.

District Councils deal with all other planning except minerals and waste. It is most likely that you would need to speak to your District Council for a planning application. Find their contact details using the 'Talk to Reg' tool.

When will I need planning permission?
There is not a set answer for this as it varies between the ten different District Councils. First step would be to check the Planning Portal and then, if you are still not sure, use the 'Talk to Reg' tool to get the contact details for your District Council planning team.

How do I make a planning application?
You can submit a planning application directly through the Planning Portal and it will be received by the correct District Council.

Useful websites:
Planning Portal FAQs
Do you need permission?
Difference between building regulation and planning
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): if you want to find an architect for the work you want to carry out.

Building Control

What is Building Control?
Building Control (or sometimes referred to as building regulations) ensures that any changes to a property or any new buildings built are in line with the various current legislation and that changes are made to a high standard and will have no negative impact on the occupiers or the wider public.

When would I need to contact Building Control?
You would usually need approval from Building Control to construct new buildings, add extensions on to existing buildings or make other alterations to existing buildings. However often you will also need planning permission first before you contact building control. Use the 'Talk to Reg' tool to get the contact details for your District Council Building Control team.

Useful websites for building control:
Planning Portal
Local Authority Building Control (LABC)

Fire Protection

What is Fire Protection?
The work of the Fire Service is varied, part of their work is to respond to emergencies but another side is working with businesses to ensure that buildings are compliant with fire regulation. Fire Protection Officers will inspect buildings and review plans to ensure that all buildings are compliant with the Fire Safety Order 2005.

How do I speak to Fire Protection?
Often the Fire Service will become involved automatically through the planning or building control process as the plans for changes/new buildings will be sent to them via the District or Borough Council or the Approved Inspector. Fire Protection is a statutory consultee for all building control applications so your plans will be sent onto them automatically at this stage. Usually the Approved Inspector or the District/Borough Council co-ordinate all conversations with the various statutory consultees. Use the 'Talk to Reg' tool to find contact details for your local Fire Protection team.

Useful websites for Fire Protection:
Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service
Health and Safety Executive
Department for Communities and Local Government


Contact Hertfordshire Highways for:

  • Skip applications
  • Scaffold & hoarding applications
  • Mobile lifting/mobile crane information

Visit the Hertfordshire County Council website to learn more.

Other things to consider

The Environmental Health Team in each District Council is responsible for protecting public health and monitoring pollution levels.

Getting waste collected from your business
As a business you will need to arrange for your waste to be collected by a licensed private waste management company or your local authority. If you do not organise this, your waste will not be collected. Access waste collection advice from The Environment Agency.

Got a question?
Lauren Dovey is Programme Manager for Better Business For All.
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