REALWorld Law


Licences and permits

What official permissions, licences or consents are required by a building or engineering contractor before it can start work?

UK - England and Wales UK - England and Wales

UK - England and Wales

There are several licences and consents that a contractor may be required to obtain to carry out construction work, for example:

  • Any work carried out that involves asbestos requires a licence from the Health & Safety Executive.
  • Contractors wishing to put a skip or erect scaffolding on a public highway must obtain consent from the local authority.
  • Contractors marketing or installing a new boiler or new and used oil and gas fires must meet certain criteria. There are also regulations governing safety in the use and installation of gas appliances under the Gas Safety Scheme.
  • Collecting and storing end-of-life refrigerators or managing, treating or disposing of controlled or hazardous waste requires the relevant licences from the Environment Agency.
  • Certain types of building work such as major office, shop and residential developments must comply with Building Regulations. Applications must be made to the local Building Control department if necessary and a scheme for self-certification is available to approved contractors. Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, widespread system reform to building safety regulation has been proposed, including a new, more effective regulatory framework and the establishment of a single-building safety regulator to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings. The new framework includes a series of 'gateways' for residential developments above a certain height, defined as ‘higher-risk’ buildings, which will entail the fulfilment of certain requirements before a development is allowed to proceed. The Building Safety Bill is currently proceeding through Parliament.
  • Certain types of work on fixed electrical installations in dwellings and associated buildings must comply with relevant standards.