A Guide to Checking UK Building Regulations Parts for Your Property Compliance

by | Feb 23, 2024 | Regulations | 0 comments

Check Building Regulations for Your Property Explore All UK Building Regulations Parts

It is important to adhere to regulatory standards when it comes to construction and property development. As one of the most important frameworks governing the construction industry in the UK, Building Regulations assure safety, accessibility, and sustainability. 

So, in order to create safe and efficient structures, property owners, developers, and even aspiring architects must understand and comply with these regulations. But most of you might be unaware of the ongoing UK building regulations, right?

So, in this detailed guide, we’ll discuss the basics of UK building regulations and its parts from A to S. Also, we’ll guide you through all the steps to get your building structure approved. 

What are UK Building Regulations?

The UK Building Regulations are a set of national standards that ensure the safety, accessibility, and sustainability of buildings. These regulations are enforced by local authorities and cover different aspects, from structural integrity and fire safety to energy efficiency and sanitation. 

Data for the financial year ending in March 2023 shows that 210,320 homes were constructed in the UK. Therefore, compliance is essential for both residential and commercial construction projects, influencing the design, construction methods, and materials used. The significance of these regulations extends beyond legality. They contribute to the overall well-being of occupants, environmental sustainability, and the long-term durability of structures.

These regulations include a set of Approved Documents that cover the technical details of construction work. The Approved Documents include:

Building Regulations Part A – Structure

Part A focuses on structural integrity, ensuring that buildings can withstand both vertical and horizontal loads. This section outlines requirements for foundations, walls, roofs, and other structural elements.

Building Regulations Part B – Fire Safety

Fire safety is an important concern in any building. Part B provides guidelines for fire-resistant materials, escape routes, and the installation of fire detection and suppression systems.

Building Regulations Part C – Site Preparation and Resistance to Contaminants

This part addresses issues related to site preparation, subsoil drainage, and protection against contaminants. Part C also ensures that the construction site and building are safeguarded against potential hazards.

Building Regulations Part D – Toxic Substances

Part D focuses on limiting exposure to toxic substances, particularly in residential buildings. This includes guidelines for the use of materials that emit harmful gases.

Building Regulations Part E – Resistance to Sound

Acoustic comfort is the key concern in Part E, which sets out requirements for sound insulation between different building parts.

Building Regulations Part F – Ventilation

Part F concentrates on ventilation and air quality standards, ensuring a healthy indoor environment by specifying airflow and ventilation systems requirements.

Building Regulations Part G – Sanitation, Hot Water Safety, and Water Efficiency

Part G addresses sanitation and water efficiency, including guidelines for the provision of clean and safe water, as well as the installation of sanitary facilities.

Building Regulations Part H – Drainage and Waste Disposal

Covering the efficient disposal of wastewater and rainwater, Part H sets out requirements for drainage systems and waste disposal facilities.

Building Regulations Part J – Heat Producing Appliances

Part J focuses on the safety and efficiency of heat-producing appliances, including requirements for installing and ventilation boilers and other heating devices.

Building Regulations Part K – Protection from Falling, Collision, and Impact

Part K aims to prevent accidents by specifying requirements for protection against falling, collision, and impact, especially on stairs, ramps, and balconies.

Building Regulations Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Power

With a focus on energy efficiency, Part L sets out standards for insulation, heating systems, and overall energy performance of buildings.

Building Regulations Part M – Access to and Use of Buildings

Part M addresses accessibility, ensuring that buildings are designed to be inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of physical ability.

Building Regulations Part N – Glazing

Part N establishes safety standards for glazing, including requirements for impact resistance and preventing accidents involving glass.

Building Regulations Part P – Electrical Safety

Concentrating on electrical installations, Part P sets out safety standards for designing and installing electrical systems in dwellings.

Building Regulations Part Q – Security

Part Q focuses on security, outlining requirements for doors, windows, and other access points to deter unauthorised access and ensure the safety of occupants.

Building Regulations Part R – Physical Infrastructure for High-Speed Electronic Communication Networks

With a growing emphasis on connectivity, Part R addresses the need for physical infrastructure to support high-speed electronic communication networks.

Building Regulations Part S – High-Speed Electronic Communications Networks

Part S complements Part R, providing additional guidelines for the planning and installing of high-speed electronic communication networks.

What Type of Structures Need Approval for Building Regulations?

Most structural work, whether for new houses, alterations, extensions, or changes of use, requires Building Regulations approval.

Here’s a list of projects where Building Regulations are needed:

  1. All new buildings, except agricultural ones.
  2. Except for detached garages under 15 square metres or under 30 square metres that are at least one metre from a boundary.
  3. All building extensions.
  4. Renovations of lofts, roof extensions, balconies, and rooftop terraces.
  5. Basement extensions.
  6. All garage conversions.
  7. Barn conversions.
  8. Flat conversions (turning one dwelling into multiple flats).
  9. Converting flats back into a house.
  10. Structural alterations, including changes to load-bearing walls.
  11. Alterations, including works to non-bearing walls, if it separates a room from a hall, staircase, or landing

You might also need Building Regulations approval if your project involves:

  1. Replacing fuse boxes and connected electrics.
  2. Installing a plumbing-involved bathroom.
  3. Changing electrics near a bath.
  4. Installing a fixed air-conditioning system.
  5. Changing windows and doors.
  6. Changing roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs.
  7. Adding extra radiators to a heating system.

Some projects are exempt from Building Regulations approval, including most repairs, replacements, and maintenance work. New power and lighting points or changes to existing circuits are exempt, except those around baths and showers. Like-for-like replacements of certain fixtures and additions of power or lighting points and switches (excluding those around baths and showers) are also exempt.

Certain types of work can be self-certified through the government’s Competent Person Scheme as an alternative to obtaining Building Regulations approval from a Building Control body.

How to Get UK Building Regulations Approval: Step-by-Step Process

 

In the UK, every local council has a Building Control section responsible for making sure building work follows the Building Regulations. To get approval, you need to apply for a business regulation application:

1. Different Ways to Apply for Building Regulations

Before you start any construction work, you have two options for applying: Full Plans or Building Notice.

Full Plans Application

With a Full Plans application, you submit detailed plans and documents to the building control. The approved building inspector checks and approves these plans before you start the work. This ensures that your plans comply with all Building Regulations from the beginning. It includes:

  • Full description of the proposed works
  • Technical drawings
  • Structural engineer’s calculations
  • Location or ‘block’ plan

This method allows you to address any non-compliance issues with the regulations before starting the construction.

Building Notice Application

With a Building Notice application, you promise in advance that you’ll follow the building regulations on-site. This approach suits small domestic alterations or simple home extensions but may be challenging for larger projects.

For a Building Notice application, you need the following things: 

  1. Fill out a form detailing the building work
  2. Provide a site plan
  3. Marked-up sketch drawings
  4. Structural engineer’s calculations
  5. Energy performance details

2. Deciding Building Regulations Authority

You have two options:

  • You can choose a local authority inspector from your council through LABC.
  • Alternatively, you can use an approved inspector from a government-approved private building inspection company. 

This applies to self-building, house renovations, extensions, and loft conversions. Approved inspectors are officially registered with the Construction Industry Council and must re-register every five years to maintain high standards.

Both a building inspector from LABC and an approved inspector do the same duties for a self-builder. They check plans for compliance with a full plans application and conduct site inspections when needed to verify work at different stages. However, only a local authority inspector has enforcement powers. 

3. Inspection Process for Building Regulations

Even though you can start some construction work before getting formal approval for a new build or extension. However, you can’t go beyond certain stages without the inspector’s approval. Here are the inspection stages:

  1. Excavations for foundations
  2. Foundation concrete
  3. Oversite
  4. Damp-proof course
  5. Foul water drain trenches open
  6. Surface water drain trenches open
  7. Occupation before completion (second fix)
  8. Completion

4. Get a Certificate of Completion

Once the building is finished to the inspector’s satisfaction, they will issue a completion certificate. This certificate is crucial and should be kept with your written planning permission. You might need it when selling the property.

The certificate is also necessary for the following:

  1. Release final funds from lenders
  2. Obtain warranty certification
  3. Reclaim VAT if applicable

You will get the completion certificate once all your certificates have been given to the building control officer and the final site inspection.

Different projects require various certificates, but they usually include:

  1. Electrical safety
  2. SAP rating
  3. Air pressure test
  4. Boiler installation and hot water services
  5. Water efficiency calculations
  6. Security
  7. Fuel storage
  8. Remediation of contaminated land
  9. Chimneys and open-flued appliances

UK Building Regulations Application Fee

Most local authorities have online calculators to help you figure out the fees. The cost depends on factors like the type of work, project size, and the number of visits needed. If you’re working with a private company, you’ll discuss the fees directly with them.

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, once you apply, you can start construction within 48 hours.

Remember, besides the application fees, you’ll also need to budget for plans and structural calculations. Depending on your project’s size, these can range from £1,200 to £4,000 or more.

To apply for UK building regulations application, you can use the online Planning Portal

How Long Does It Take To Get UK Building Regulations Approval?

documentation showcasing compliance with UK Building Regulations for approval, illustrating adherence to construction standards and safety guidelines.

The time it takes depends on how busy your designer is. For a simple task, it usually takes around three or four days. If the engineer’s calculations are causing a delay, you can often save time by submitting them separately after your main application.

For a Full Plans application, building control typically processes it within five weeks, assuming there are no major issues. Importantly, you don’t have to wait for ‘plans approval’ before starting on-site work.

Conclusion

It is crucial for every builder, before starting construction projects, to understand the complexities of UK Building Regulations. By understanding the requirements of each Building Regulations part and diligently following the approval process, you can ensure compliance with the law. Also, you can contribute to the safety, accessibility, and sustainability of your property. So, before starting any new construction project, follow this comprehensive guide and complete all the steps of Building Regulations conveniently and quickly.

Emmanuel Nwaebo

Emmanuel Nwaebo is the Managing Director at Powerpillar Ltd and has more than 25 years experience in building construction and renovations. He has a bachelor’s in Electronics and Electrical Engineering with certification in Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST). With an experience in managing construction and renovation services for years, he is extremely passionate about property management and loves helping people find their dream property.

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