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Making an online building control application

Supporting documents - uploading files

Most applications require more information than can be provided by the application form alone. Such as site location maps.

Supporting document limitations

File types - Supported file types are:

  • Adobe PDF - .pdf
  • Images - .bmp, .gif, .jpg / .jpeg, .png, .tif
  • CAD (HPGL) - .plt
  • Microsoft Office - .doc / .docx, .xls / .xlsx
  • Text - .rtf, .txt
  • Video – .avi, .mov, .mp4 .mpg / .mpeg, .wmv
  • GML - .gml

If you wish to submit supporting documentation by any other method, we recommend that you use the file types listed above wherever possible. If you wish to use any other file type, you should check with your building control body before submission as they may not be able to accept them.

File size - This file size limit will be set by the building control body. Please refer to our guidance on reducing file sizes1

File name - Supported characters within a file name are:

  • The letters A to Z (upper and lower case),
  • The numbers 0 to 9
  • The characters:
    • " " (space)
    • "-" (dash)
    • "_" (underscore)
    • "(" (open bracket)
    • ")" (close bracket)
    • "." (full stop) – Note that full stops should only be used to separate the file name and type (for example: Siteplan.pdf NOT Site.plan.pdf)

Permitted examples:

  • Siteplan.pdf
  • Elevations existing Drwg 1345-2.tif
  • first-floor-plan_proposed_drwg 1346-1.plt
  • Timber-frame-detail_entrance-hall (179098_2) (Heritage statement).doc

If the building control body cannot download or view an attached file, you may be asked to provide it again in a file type they can use or supply a hard copy of the information.

Attaching plans and drawings

It is recommended that all plans and drawings include a scale bar, key dimensions, the direction of North, original paper size and scale (e.g. 1:200 at A3) clearly marked on them.

While not compulsory, submitting plans and drawings on A3 will help the building control body process your application more efficiently.

We would advise you to consider placing fewer elevations on smaller page sizes, even if this means submitting more documents. We would also recommend only using colour where necessary as this can greatly increase file sizes.

Supporting documents best practice

There are several ways in which you can help the receiving building control body process your application more efficiently:

  • Portable Document Format (PDF) is a trusted and reliable open file format used to convert virtually any document into an easily readable, industry standard format. Converting, or scanning original drawing files into PDF format reduces the original file size, while protecting file integrity and preserving source file information.
  • Please ensure that the files are orientated correctly when uploaded. The file should be saved with the orientation it should be viewed in, landscape or portrait.
  • Wherever possible, try to format your plans and elevations on A3 sheet size (or reduce the original to A3), this reduces print time and costs for the BCB where printed copies are required for consultation.
  • Make sure you always clearly state the original sheet size and drawing scale, include a scale bar and key dimensions which will enable your drawing to be scaled accurately on-screen at any size.
  • If you reduce your original drawing to A3 for submission, ensure you state the original sheet size and scale, as well as the reduced sheet size (e.g. Scale 1:500 at A2 original size, reduced to A3).  Also ensure that annotations and other text are legible at the reduced size.
  • When using compressed file formats (e.g. jpg, pdf, avi, wmv) you should ensure that the document is of high enough quality and resolution, otherwise you may be asked to resubmit it.
  • Do not use exe, zip or other archive formats as these are commonly identified by security software as high risk and may not be transferred to the BCB correctly.

Please Note: The building control body cannot register an application until all supporting documentation has been received.

Therefore, we recommend submitting everything online wherever possible, rather than sending some information by post, to avoid any delays in the registration of your application.


The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.

The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.