Building control

The Department has four Building Control Officers who cover the Island with exception to the Parishes of Douglas and Onchan.

There are 3 building control authorities on the Isle of Man. The Building Control Section within the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture regulates the entire Island with exception to Douglas and Onchan. See related links for the contact details for Douglas and Onchan.

Building Control regulates the actual construction processes involved in the erection of a building, highlighting the elements of how a building is put together and in particular ensuring that the building has a safe structure. Standards must be met in the construction of all types of buildings, addressing matters including the foundations, damp proofing, fire protection etc. ultimately seeking to protect the health and safety of people who use the end product. Building regulations also consider matters such as disabled access into and about the building. The process involves plans for a development being checked for appropriateness and to make sure they meet the regulations. Once plans have been passed, any works will be inspected during the build at key construction stages. If the at the end of the project the structure meets the regulation requirements, a completion certificate will be issued. This certificate is important proof that all regulations have been adhered to and must be kept with any title deeds (your solicitor may need it if you decide to sell the building).

There are some instances where a building regulations application would be required and a planning application would not and vice versa.

It is important to note that a building regulations approval is entirely separate from planning permission. Receipt of confirmation that plans have been passed under Building Regulations does not automatically ensure you will receive planning permission for the same develpment.

What legislation covers building control?

The present system of building control operating throughout the Isle of Man is based on the Building Control Act 1991, supported by the Building Regulations 2014. See downloadable documents for a copy of these regulations. Generally, the regulations apply to the construction of new buildings and alterations and extensions. Changes of use are also controlled under the regulations.

Link with planning permission

In many cases, planning permission will be required in addition to Building Regulations approval. Both are distinct and different areas of control. Quite often planning permission may be required without the need for Building Regulations approval and vice versa. The need for either can only be measured by seeking advice from the planning authority or the relevant building control authority.

What is the purpose of the Building Regulations?

To secure reasonable standards of:

  • health and safety for persons in or about buildings (and any others who may be affected by buildings, or matters connected with buildings)
  • energy conservation
  • access and facilities for people with disabilities, and
  • Preventing waste, undue consumption, misuse and contamination of water.

What building work is controlled by the regulations?

  • the erection or extension of a building
  • the provision of a controlled service or fitting, for example, sanitary pipe work, drainage, heat producing appliances
  • the material alteration of a building, or a controlled service or fitting
  • work required to be undertaken as a result of a material change of use 
  • the insertion of insulation material into the cavity wall of a building, and
  • work involving the underpinning of a building.