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What are the Building Regulations?

The Building Regulations establish accepted standards for the design and construction of buildings for:

  • the health and safety  of people in and around buildings
  • energy conservation
  • access to buildings.

Who must comply with the Building Regulations?

The responsibility for compliance usually falls on the builder. However, this should be agreed by the parties to the construction project at the start of negotiations.

Moreover, the building owner is ultimately the person who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work is not compliant with the Regulations.

What type of building work must comply with the Building Regulations?

A number of building projects constitute 'building work' and, as such, must comply with the Building Regulations.

Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations defines 'building work' as:

  • the erection (or extension) of a building
  • the installation (or extension) of a service or fitting controlled by the Regulations
  • an 'alteration project' consisting of work that temporarily or permanently affects the continued compliance of the building, service or fitting with requirements relating to structure, fire or access to (and use of) the buildings
  • the placement of insulation into a cavity wall
  • the underpinning of the building foundations.

All works should not render fabric, services and fittings less compliant (or more dangerous) than they were previously.

What do the Building Regulations cover?

Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations exhaustively list the requirements with which building work should comply:

  • Part A - Structure
  • Part B - Fire safety
  • Part C - Site preparation and moisture resistance
  • Part D - Toxic substances
  • Part E - Resistance to sound passage
  • 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 connection with impact, opening and cleaning
  • Part P - Electrical safety.

The requirements in Schedule 1 are often referred to as 'functional requirements' and make reference to what is 'reasonable', 'adequate' or 'appropriate'.

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