If you are considering undertaking the structural alterations to your property you will almost certainly made building regulations approval.
These are required to protect you and users of your property from unsafe building works. It would be extremely negligent to ignore the building regulation requirements.
What are the Building Regulations?
The Building Regulations are made under powers provided in the Building Act 1984, and apply in England and Wales. The current edition of the regulations is ‘The Building Regulations 2000’ and the majority of building projects are required to comply with them. Copies are available from Building Regulations Publications HMSO.
Always discuss your proposed projects with your local building regulations officers. You may find that there is some variation in interpretation of the regulations between local authorities. It is wise to discover this before you start your building works.
You also find an alternative building control services provided by other approved inspectors who are not part of the local authority.
Why do we need building regulations?
They exist to ensure the health and safety of people in and around all types of buildings (ie domestic, commercial and industrial). They also cover energy conservation, and access to and use of buildings.
The Building Regulations define:
- What types of building, plumbing, and heating projects are subject to the regulations.
- What types of buildings are exempt from control.
- The notification procedures to follow when starting, carrying out, and completing building work
- The building design and construction requirements necessary for the health and safety of building users, energy conservation, and access to and use of buildings.
- You can choose to apply to your local authority to obtain building regulations or a Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors.
- The Building Control Service will inspect plans for new buildings to check compliance with regulations and periodically inspect the site during construction to ensure approved plans are adhered to.
What you should do.
Anyone wanting to carry out building work which is likely to be subject to the Building Regulations has to make sure it complies with the regulations and to use one of the two types of Building Control Service available:
- The Building Control Service provided by your local council.
- The Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors You will be charged for either service.
- The Building Control Service you select may offer advice before your work is started.
The primary responsibility for complying with the regulations belongs to the person carrying out the building work. So if you are carrying out the work personally the responsibility will be yours. If you are employing a builder the responsibility will usually be that firm’s – but you should confirm this position at the very beginning. If you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations. So it is important that you choose your builder carefully.
Complying with the regulations.
There is a series of approved documents which contain practical guidance on ways to comply with the requirements in the Building Regulations.
Each document contains:
General guidance on the performance expected of materials and building work in order to comply with each of the requirements of the Building Regulations.
Practical examples and solutions on how to achieve compliance for some of the more common building situations.
What the regulations cover.
The Building Regulations cover the following areas of building work (known as ‘parts’):
- Part A – Structure.
- Part B – Fire Safety.
- Part C – Site preparation and resistance to moisture.
- Part D – Toxic substances.
- Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound.
- Part F – Ventilation.
- Part G – Hygiene.
- Part H – Drainage and waste disposal.
- Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems.
- Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact.
- Part L – Conservation of fuel and power.
- Part M – Access to and use of buildings.
- Part N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning.
- Part P – Electrical safety.
Seeking advice and choosing your builder.
Unless you have a reasonable working knowledge of building construction it is always advisable to get professional advice before any work is started which is relevant to the building work you want to carry out. For example, from an architect, a structural engineer, a building surveyor, a heating engineer or replacement window specialist. It’s also a good idea to choose a registered builder, or a registered installer, to carry out the work.