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Guidance on Building Regulations

The Building Regulations are legal requirements designed to ensure the health and safety of building users. They also take into account energy conservation, and access and use of buildings by people, including disabled people. The regulations themselves are in the form of a 40 page document known as a statutory instrument. This simply states the regulations but doesn't itself elaborate or give guidance on how to comply or meet the regulations.

To give additional guidance, there are a series of approved documents published. These are technical documents which give much more information, diagrams, facts and figures to explain how it is possible to comply.

You can download copies of the Approved Documents and view associated guidance via the following links.

The following gives a brief summary of the main requirements but the actual legislation and documentation should always be consulted.

Part A Structural Safety

  • The weight of the building from the walls, furniture and people in the building will be transmitted to the ground, so as not to cause instability to the building or other buildings.
  • Requires buildings to be built in a way ensuring no collapse will occur disproportionate to its cause.
  • Ground movement such as freezing of subsoil will not impair the stability of the building.

Part B Fire Safety

  • Requires safe means of escape from the building.
  • Requires the stability of a building to be maintained in a fire, both internally and externally.
  • Internally - The linings of the building will resist the spread of fire and will not give off excessive amounts of smoke and heat.
  • Internal stability will be maintained during fire and fire spread will be minimised.
  • Fire and smoke will be prohibited from spreading to concealed spaces in a buildings structure.
  • Externally - The external walls and roof will resist spread of fire to walls and roofs of other buildings.
  • The building will be easily accessible for fire fighters and their equipment.

Part C Site Preparation and Damp Proofing

  • Nothing should be growing on the ground covered by the building.
  • Precautions must be taken to stop gases and dangerous substances from previous land use from entering the building and endangering the health and safety of occupants.
  • Subsoil drainage will be in place, if needed, to stop the passage of ground moisture to the interior of the building and to prevent damage to the fabric of the building.
  • The walls, floors and roof of the building shall prevent moisture passing to the inside of the building and provision to prevent condensation occurring in the roof structure.

Part D Toxic Substances

  • Insulating materials inserted into cavity walls can give off fumes. Prevention must be taken to stop these fumes reaching occupants of the building.

Part E Soundproofing

  • Floors and walls between domestic buildings should have a certain resistance to the passage of sound. Sound insulation requirements also apply to floors and certain walls within individual dwellings and new schools.

Part F Ventilation

  • The building must have adequate ventilation.

Part G Hygiene

  • The amount of water consumed in dwellings is controlled
  • An adequate and suitable supply of wholesome water for drinking, cooking and washing, must be provided.
  • Adequate sanitation facilities i.e. toilet & wash hand basin must be provided
  • A house must have either a bath or shower with ability to heat hot water.
  • Unvented hot water storage systems - Restrictions apply to who can install the system.

Part H Drainage and Waste Disposal

  • An adequate system to carry water used for cooking, washing, toilet, bath or shower to a sewer cesspool or settlement tank must be in place.
  • A cesspool or settlement tank must be impermeable to liquids and have adequate ventilation. It must also have means of access for emptying, not harm the health of any person and not contaminate water or water supply.
  • An adequate system to carry rainwater away from the roof of a building e.g. guttering carrying water to a sewer.
  • A place to put a wheelie bin or dustbin. The place must not harm anyone’s health.

Part J Heating Appliances

  • Must have an adequate air supply for combustion and for efficient working of a fluepipe or chimney.
  • Appliances shall discharge the products of combustion safely to external air.
  • The appliance, fireplace and chimney shall reduce the risk of the building catching fire.

Part K Stairs, Ramps and Guards

  • Stairs, ramps and ladders shall provide safety for people, when moving between different levels of a building.
  • Stairs, ramps, floors and balconies shall be adequately guarded.
  • Safety shall be provided for people using vehicle ramps and loading bays.

Part L Conservation of Fuel and Power

  • Provision must be made for the conservation of fuel and power in a building. by limiting the gains and losses from the building fabric.
  • Controls to operate the heating of the building and heating of water should be effective.
  • By limiting heat loss from hot water tanks and hot water pipes.
  • Lighting systems in buildings should use no more energy than needed and have adequate controls.

Part M Access to and use of buildings

An existing building should have reasonable provision:

  • For all people to gain access and use the building, regardless of disability, age and gender.
  • If toilets are provided, reasonable provision shall be made available for people with disabilities.
  • If a building has seating such as audience or spectator seating, reasonable provision should be made for people with disabilities.

Part N Glazing Materials and Protection

  • Glazing that people come into contact with whilst in a building, should, if broken, break in a way unlikely to cause injury, resist impact without breaking or be shielded or protected from impact.
  • Buildings, other than dwellings that have transparent glazing which people come into contact with while moving around a building, must have features to make it apparent. Windows that can be opened must be operated safely and provision made for safe accessible cleaning.

Part P Electrical Safety

  • Reasonable provision shall be made in the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations in order to protect persons from fire or injury.
  • Sufficient information shall be provided so that persons wishing to operate, maintain or alter an electrical installation can do so with reasonable safety.
  • Planning Help Desk
    Building Control, Planning and Economic Development, Directorate of Place, 4 Ednam Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 1HL

    Form: Building Control - Request a Site Inspection
    Telephone: 01384 814136
    Out of Hours Telephone: 01384 814136 (24 hours)

    Opening Hours

    Monday to Friday, 8:45 am to 5:00pm, please note that the offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays.