Scope of Building Regulations
The Building Regulations are minimum standards,
which govern the design and construction of most new buildings and
refurbishment work in this country. They protect the occupiers of
buildings and members of the public against dangers to health or
personal safety, contribute substantially to the conservation of
energy and ensure the reasonable provision of access to buildings
for disabled persons.
It is in every client's interest that designers
and contractors make sure the buildings they construct comply with
the statutory requirements. Most designers consider the
implications of the Building Regulations in the very early stages
of the design, and right through the construction period clients
appreciate the significant role of Local Authority Building
The requirements are expressed in broad
functional terms, in order to give designers and builders maximum
The Building Regulations are supported by
Approved Documents, which indicate how compliance with the
Regulations may be achieved. Alternative methods to demonstrate
compliance are available.
The Approved Documents:
Approved Document A - Structure
This covers the structural stability of roofs,
walls, floors, foundations, etc and considers implications of
loading, ground movement and disproportionate collapse.
Approved Document B - Fire Safety
This document concerns issues relating to means
of escape in case of fire, fire spread over walls and ceilings,
fire resistance to elements of structure, external fire spread and
access for the Fire Brigade.
Approved Document C - Site Preparation and Resistance to
Advice on preparing the site, dealing with
dangerous/offensive substances, subsoil drainage and resistance to
weather and ground moisture resistance is given.
Approved Document D - Toxic Substances
Advice given in this document relates to
precautions to be taken to prevent toxic fumes, from certain
insulation materials, from entering the building.
Approved Document E - Resistance to the Passage of Sound
Various forms of construction are indicated for
providing reasonable sound resistance to walls and floors in new
dwellings or conversions. This has recently been revised and
includes requirements for sound testing, and robust details for new
Approved Document F – Ventilation
Adequate ventilation must be provided for
people in buildings and adequate provisions must be made to prevent
excessive condensation in roofs.
Approved Document G – Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water
Full guidance is given on hot and cold water
supplies, water efficiency, sanitary conveniences, washing
facilities, bathrooms and kitchen/food preparation areas.
Approved Document H - Drainage and Waste Disposal
This Approved Document covers the subject of
foul and rainwater drainage systems, water treatment and cesspools,
building over sewers, separate systems of drainage and solid waste
Approved Document J - Heat Producing Appliances
Includes the requirements for adequate air
supply, discharge of combustion products, protection of buildings,
provision of information, protection of liquid fuel storage and
protection against pollution.
Approved Document K - Protection from falling, collision and
Methods of achieving the requirements for
stairs, ladders, ramps, guarding, vehicle barriers, protection from
impact with open windows/doors are provided.
Approved Document L - Conservation of Fuel and Power
The 2006 editions of Approved Document L1A /L1B
and L2A/L2B have significantly revised the provisions for the
conservation of fuel and power in buildings. Apart from increasing
the standards of thermal insulation, there is now greater emphasis
on the use of energy efficient heating systems, control systems,
lighting systems. In addition, there have been changes to the
regulations covering "building work", "material alterations" and
"change of use" which require in most cases considerable
improvement to the energy requirements. These changes require
applications to be submitted for works where (previously) an
application would not have been required or considerably extend the
requirements to improve insulation levels for new, renovated or
retained thermal elements.
Approved Document M - Access to and use of buildings for
Guidance is given on the requirements for
suitable access provisions and facilities for people with
disabilities. New buildings must be fully accessible. Existing
premises should not be made less accessible when altered or
extended. The guidance covers aspects such as the entrance
doorways, widths of corridors, provision of lifts, toilet
accommodation, spectator seating, provision of handrails, location
of light switches/socket outlets and provisions for the hard of
It is worth noting the provisions of the
Disability Discrimination Act . Owners of buildings should ensure
that buildings are accessible. Facilities provided for disabled
people generally make buildings easier to use for everyone.
Approved Document N – Glazing
Safety glazing, manifestation (marking) and the
safe opening/cleaning of windows and safe access for window
cleaning are the subject of this document.
Approved Document P - Electrical Safety
The design and installation of electrical
elements of a building.
Please note that the Regulations and Approved
Documents are subject to continuous change and it is important that
you are aware of the latest requirements (and Approved Documents)
when submitting your application.
Should you need advice on the requirements of the Building
Regulations, please contact our Administration team for
The Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet (opens in new
window) gives you basic advice and a general introduction to
the Building Regulations. The Planning
Portal House Diagram (opens in new window) also provides
details regarding Building Regulations.
Copies of the Regulations and Approved
Documents are available from HMSO and other bookshops.
Alternatively they are available online at www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding
(opens in new window).