Building Regulations Basic Requirements For Your Project

In this part of the Building Regulations series, we will look at some of the key points to consider when designing to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations. We will look at some of the more common works to existing properties, and mention some of the main elements that fall under the Building Regulations.

 

The Building Regulations are made up of a number of approved documents that can be downloaded for free from the Planning Portal (link). The documents are as follows:

Approved Document A – Structure

Approved Document B – Fire safety

Approved Document C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminates and moisture 

Approved Document D – Toxic substances

Approved Document E – Resistance to the passage of sound

Approved Document F – Ventilation

Approved Document G – Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency

Approved Document H – Drainage and waste disposal 

Approved Document J – Combustion appliances

Approved Document K – Protection from falling, collision and impact 

Approved Document L – Conservation of fuel and power 

Approved Document M – Access to and use of buildings 

Approved Document P – Electrical safety

Approved Document Q – Security 

Approved Document R – Physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks

The list below suggests the Approved Document that should be referenced when carrying out any work under each heading.

Kitchen

 Kitchen building regulations requirements

Working on a new kitchen design? There are few considerations that must be taken when planning building work to a kitchen. These include things like ventilation and drainage. The Approved Documents mentioned below outline some of the requirements.

Approved Document G covers requirements relating to provision of suitable installation of water and water efficiency, provision of suitable sink in food preparation areas, amongst other requirements.

Fire Safety:

Approved Document B – There shall be an early warning fire alarm system for persons in the building. There shall be sufficient escape routes that are suitably located to enable persons to evacuate the building in the event of a fire. Safety routes shall be protected form the effects of fire. In an emergency, the occupants of any part of the building shall be able to escape without any external assistance.

The spread of flame over the internal linings of the building shall be restricted. The heat released form the internal linings shall be restricted.

Building shall be sub-divided by elements of fire resisting construction into compartments.

Ventilation:

Approved Document F – All kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms and sanitary accommodation shall be provided with extract ventilation to the outside which is capable of operating either intermittently or continuously. Document F sets out the extract ventilation rates required for each location.

Drainage:

Approved Document H1 – This covers requirements for foul water drainage including requirements for minimising blockage or leakage, preventing foul air leakage, ventilation to drainage etc.

Electrical Safety:

Approved Document P – Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.

Electrical installations must also comply with the wiring regulations, BS 7671.

Other Approved Documents that should be checked when carrying out any electrical work are Approved Documents B, G, L and M.

Combustion Appliances:

There are a range of requirements when installing any form of combustion appliance – these requirements fall into Approved Document J predominantly. It is also worth referring to Approved Document B and L.

Noise:

Approved Document E1 – Dwellings shall be designed so that the noise from domestic activity in an adjoining dwelling is key to a level that does not affect the health of the occupants of the dwelling and will allow them to sleep, rest and engage in their normal activities in satisfactory conditions.

Loft Conversion

loft conversion building regulations requirements

Wondering what the building regulations requirements are for a loft conversion? Below we look at some of the Approved Documents that will provide guidance for your loft conversion.

Fire Safety:

Approved Document B – There shall be an early warning fire alarm system for persons in the building. There shall be sufficient escape routes that are suitably located to enable persons to evacuate the building in the event of fire. Safety routes shall be protected from the effects of fire. In an emergency, the occupants of any part of the building shall be able to escape without any external assistance.

The spread of flame over the internal linings of the building shall be restricted. The heat released form the internal linings shall be restricted.

Building shall be sub-divided by elements of fire resisting construction into compartments.

Ventilation:

Approved Document F – There shall be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in the building. This document sets out the guidance on ventilation requirements. Document F sets out the extract ventilation rates required for each location.

Approved Document K – Stairs shall be so designed, constructed and installed as to be safe for people moving between different levels in or about the building. Any stairs shall be provided with barriers where it is necessary to protect people from falling.

It is worth referring to the Extension section to check whether any of the requirements apply to the particular loft conversion design.

Extension

extension building regulations requirementsPlanning an extension can have many elements that will require compliance with the Building Regulations. Some of the main areas are listed below.

Foundations and Structure:

Approved Document A – Building shall be constructed so that the combined dead, imposed and wind loads are sustained and transmitted by it to the ground safely without causing any building deflection/deformation or ground movement that will affect the stability of any part of the building.

Building shall be constructed so that ground movement caused by swelling, shrinkage or freezing of the subsoil, land slip or subsidence will not affect the stability of any part of the building.

Other things to consider:

Hazards in the ground could be present such as chemical or biological contaminants, hazardous gases, naturally occurring radon gas, underground storage tanks and so on.

Contaminated ground can be due to previous land use such as asbestos works, ceramic or cement work, gas works, industry, mines and so on.

Structure generally:

Approved Document C2 – All floors next to the ground, walls and roof shall not be damaged by moisture from the ground, rain or snow and shall not carry that moisture to any part of the building it would damage.

Approved Document C1 – The ground shall be free from any material that might damage the building or affect its stability. Reasonable precautions shall be taken to avoid danger to health and safety caused by contaminants on or in the ground covered, to be covered, by the building. Adequate subsoil drainage shall be provided.

Approved Document A – Sets out maximum floor area enclosed by structural walls and maximum building height according to relevant wind speeds.

Approved Document C2 – All walls and floors shall adequately protect the building and people from harmful effects caused by ground moisture, precipitation, condensation, water spillage.

Approved Document A – Sets out maximum imposed loads for roofs floors and ceilings.

Floors:

Approved Document E1 – Dwellings shall be designed so that the noise from domestic activity in an adjoining dwelling is key to a level that does not affect the health of the occupants of the dwelling and will allow them to sleep, rest and engage in their normal activities in satisfactory conditions.

There are many considerations to take here so Approved Document A, B , C, E, L – Provides guidance to the requirements of new floors.

Walls:

Approved Document C2 – The walls of the building shall adequately protect the building and people who use the building from harmful effects caused by ground moisture, precipitation, condensation and spillage of water.

Approved Document D – Cavity insulation – any fumes given off by insulation materials must not be allowed to penetrate the building to an extent where it could be a health risk.

Approved Document B2 – Materials and or products used for internal linings of walls shall restrict the spread of flame and the amount of heat released.

Approved Document B3 – A wall common to two or more buildings must be constructed so that it adequately resists the spread of fire between those buildings. Any hidden voids in the construction must be sealed and sub-divided to inhibit the unseen spread of fire.

Approved Document B4 – External walls shall be constructed to have a low rate of heat release and reduced risk of ignition from an external source.

Approved Document E1 – Dwellings shall be designed so that the noise from domestic activity in an adjoining dwelling is key to a level that does not affect the health of the occupants of the dwelling and will allow them to sleep, rest and engage in their normal activities in satisfactory conditions.

Approved Document L – Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by limiting heat gains and losses, and providing fixed building services which are energy efficient and use no more fuel and power than reasonable.

There are many considerations to take here so Approved Document A, B , C, D, E, L – Provides guidance to the requirements of walls.

Ceilings:

Approved Document B2 – All materials used for internal linings of a building should have a low rate of surface flame spread and low rate of heat release.

Approved Document E1 –  Dwellings shall be designed so that the noise from domestic activity in an adjoining dwelling is key to a level that does not affect the health of the occupants of the dwelling and will allow them to sleep, rest and engage in their normal activities in satisfactory conditions.

Approved Document B – sets out requirements for cavity barriers in roof spaces, heat and smoke alarm siting and installation requirements.

Approved Document E – covers requirements for airborne and impact sound in ceilings.

Roofs:

Approved Document A – Building shall be constructed so that the combined dead, imposed and wind loads are sustained and transmitted by it to the ground safely without causing any building deflection/deformation or ground movement that will affect the stability of any part of the building.

Approved Document C – The roof of the building shall be resistant to the penetration of moisture from rain or snow to the inside of the building.

Approved Document B2 – All materials used for internal linings of a building should have a low rate of surface flame spread and low rate of heat release.

Approved Document B4 – The roof shall be constructed so that the risk of spread of flame and or fire penetration from an external fire source is restricted.

Approved Document B3 – All openings in fire separating elements shall be suitably protected in order to maintain the integrity of the continuity of the fire separation. Any hidden voids in the construction shall be sealed and subdivided to inhibit the unseen spread of fire and products of combustion, in order to reduce the risk of structural failure and spread of fire.

Approved Document F – Suitable ventilation should be provided for people in the building.

Approved Document L – Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by limiting heat gains and losses, and providing fixed building services which are energy efficient and use no more fuel and power than reasonable.

There are many considerations to take here so Approved Document A, B , C, D, E, F, L – Provides guidance to the requirements of roofs.

Other:

Approved Document H3 – Rainwater drainage systems must ensure that rainwater soaking into the ground is distributed sufficiently so that it does not damage foundations of the proposed building or any adjacent structure.

Ventilation:

Approved Document F – There shall be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in the building. This document sets out the guidance on ventilation requirements. Document F sets out the extract ventilation rates required for each location.

Windows:

Approved Document B – In an emergency the occupants of any part of the building shall be able to escape without any external assistance.

Approved Document F – There shall be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in the building.

Approved Document L – Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by limiting heat gains and losses, and providing fixed building services which are energy efficient and use no more fuel and power than reasonable.

Approved Document K – Glazing, with which people are likely to come into contact whilst moving in or around the building shall if broken on impact, break in a way which is unlikely to cause injury, resist impact without breaking and be shielded or protected from impact. Provision shall be made to prevent people moving in or about the building from colliding with open windows, skylights or ventilators. Windows, skylights or ventilators which can be opened by people using the building shall be opened and closed safely. Provision shall be made for any windows, skylights to be safely accessible for cleaning.

There are many considerations to take here so Approved Document F, K, and L – Provides guidance to the requirements of windows.

Doors:

Approved Document F – There shall be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in the building.

Approved Document L – Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by limiting heat gains and losses, and providing fixed building services which are energy efficient and use no more fuel and power than reasonable.

Approved Document B – In an emergency the occupants of any part of the building shall be able to escape without any external assistance. There shall be sufficient escape routes that are suitable located to enable persons to evacuate the building in the event of a fire. Safety routes shall be protected forms the effects of fire.

Approved Document M – Reasonable provisions shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities.

Approved Document K – Protection against impact from trapping by doors – provisions shall be made to prevent any door or gate which slides or opens upwards from falling on any person. For powered doors and gates to be opened in the event of power failure. To ensure clear view of the space on either side of a swing door or gate.

There are many considerations to take here so Approved Document B, F, K, M and L – Provides guidance to the requirements of doors.

Corridors:

Approved Document B –  In an emergency the occupants of any part of the building shall be able to escape without any external assistance. There shall be sufficient escape routes that are suitable located to enable persons to evacuate the building in the event of a fire. Safety routes shall be protected forms the effects of fire.

Approved Document M – Reasonable provisions shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities.

The main regulations that need to be followed here are Approved Documents M and B.

Electrical Safety:

Approved Document P – Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.

Electrical installations must also comply with the wiring regulations, BS 7671.

Other Approved Documents that should be checked when carrying out any electrical work are Approved Documents B, G, L and M.

Combustion Appliances:

There are a range of requirements when installing any form of combustion appliance – these requirements fall into Approved Document J predominantly. It is also worth referring to Approved Document B and L.

Hot Water Storage:

Refer to Approved Document G.

Liquid Fuels:

Refer to Approved Document J.

Conservation of Fuel and Power:

Approved Document L – Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by limiting heat gains and losses, and providing fixed building services which are energy efficient and use no more fuel and power than reasonable.

WC

wc building regulation requirements

A new WC will require compliance with a number of building regulations – some of the Approved Documents to consider are listed below.

Ventilation:

Approved Document F – All kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms and sanitary accommodation shall be provided with extract ventilation to the outside which is capable of operating either intermittently or continuously. Document F sets out the extract ventilation rates required for each location.

Drainage:

Approved Document H1 – This covers requirements for foul water drainage including requirements for minimising blockage or leakage, preventing foul air leakage, ventilation to drainage etc.

Approved Document H2 – This covers the requirements for wastewater treatments, septic tanks and cesspools.

Approved Document H3 – This sets out the requirements for rainwater drainage.

Sanitary:

Approved Document G – Adequate and suitable sanitary conveniences must be provided in rooms provided to accommodate them or in bathrooms. Adequate stand washing facilities must be provided in rooms containing sanitary conveniences, or in rooms or spaces adjacent to rooms containing sanitary conveniences. Any room containing a sanitary convenience, a bidet or any facility for washing hands provided in accordance with above, must be separated from any kitchen, or any area where food is prepared.

Approved Document M – Reasonable provisions shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities.

The main regulations that need to be followed here are Approved Documents B, F, G and M

Bathroom or En-Suite

bathroom building regulations requirementsVentilation:

Approved Document F – All kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms and sanitary accommodation shall be provided with extract ventilation to the outside which is capable of operating either intermittently or continuously. Document F sets out the extract ventilation rates required for each location.

Drainage:

Approved Document H1 – This covers requirements for foul water drainage including requirements for minimising blockage or leakage, preventing foul air leakage, ventilation to drainage etc.

Approved Document H2 – This covers the requirements for wastewater treatments, septic tanks and cesspools.

Sanitary:

Approved Document G – Adequate and suitable sanitary conveniences must be provided in rooms provided to accommodate them or in bathrooms. Adequate stand washing facilities must be provided in rooms containing sanitary conveniences, or in rooms or spaces adjacent to rooms containing sanitary conveniences. Any room containing a sanitary convenience, a bidet or any facility for washing hands provided in accordance with above, must be separated from any kitchen, or any area where food is prepared.

Approved Document G – There must be a suitable installation for the provision of water to any sanitary convenience fitted with a flushing device. All dwelling must provide a bathroom which contains eater a fixed bath or a shower and a washbasin.

Approved Document M – Reasonable provisions shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities.

Stairs

stairs building regulation requirementsThere are quite a few Building Regulations that need to be considered for a new stair, some of the main approved documents are listed below.

Approved Document A – Building shall be constructed so that the combined dead, imposed and wind loads are sustained and transmitted by it to the ground safely without causing any building deflection/deformation or ground movement that will affect the stability of any part of the building.

Approved Document B – The building shall be designed and constructed so that there are appropriate provisions for the early warning of fire, and appropriate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety outside the building capable of being safely and effectively used at all materials times.

Approved Document E – covers requirements for airborne and impact sound in stairs.

Approved Document K – Stairs, ladders and ramps shall be so designed, constructed and installed as to be safe for people moving between different levels in or about the building. Any stairs, ramps, floors and balconies and any roof which people have access shall be provided with barriers where it is necessary to protect people from falling.

Approved Document M – Reasonable provisions shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities.

There are many considerations to take here so Approved Document A, B, C, E, K and M – Provides guidance to the requirements of stairs.

Wood burning stoves

wood burner building regulation requirements

Approved Document J – Combustion appliances and flue pipes shall be so installed, and fireplaces and chimneys shall be so constructed and installed as to reduce to a reasonable level the risk of people suffering burns or the building catching fire in consequence of their use.

Combustion appliances shall be so installed that there is an adequate supply of air to them for combustion, to prevent overheating and for efficient working of any flue.

Where a fixed combustion appliance is provided, appropriate provision shall be made to detect and give warning of the release of carbon monoxide.

Approved Document J provides detailed requirements for emissions, chimneys, flues, outlets, fireplaces, hearths and more.

Conservatories

conservatory building regulation requirementsA new conservatory should consider the regulations below, but it also might be worth looking at the Extension section of this article to ensure all areas are covered.

Conservation of Fuel and Power:

Approved Document L – Reasonable provision shall be made for the conservation of fuel and power in buildings by limiting heat gains and losses, and providing fixed building services which are energy efficient and use no more fuel and power than reasonable.

Ventilation:

Approved Document F – There shall be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in the building. This document sets out the guidance on ventilation requirements.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but will provide some initial guidance when working on an extension/renovation/new build project.

NOTE: This post is for information only, all Building Regulation Approved Documents must be checked and consultations taken with a professional prior to carrying out any work. This guide refers to English Building Regulations, note that Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh regulations will differ.

Resources and Useful Information

Approved Inspectors

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