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Building Regulations

Builders Hampshire

Building Regulations are a set of approved documents in the UK specifying the standards and criteria for building design, construction, and alterations to ensure safety, health, energy efficiency, and accessibility for people with disabilities.

The English and Welsh governments make rules for how buildings are built. A group called the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) helps the secretary of state decide on these rules and how buildings should be designed and constructed.

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What Do Building Requirements Cover?

As stated earlier, Building Regulations are divided into several parts, each focusing on different aspects of building construction and maintenance. The following are the different aspects of Building Regulations:

  1. Part A – Structural Safety: Covers requirements for the structural stability of buildings, including foundations, walls, and roofs.
  2. Part B – Fire Safety: Focuses on the steps to prevent and control fire, including fire detection systems, fire resistance of materials, and means of escape.
  3. Part C – Resistance to Moisture and Contaminants: Deals with issues such as site drainage, resistance to moisture, and protection against contaminants.
  4. Part D – Toxic Substances: Addresses toxic substances, including toxic fumes being kept from building materials.
  5. Part E – Resistance to the Sound Passage: Covers requirements for acoustic performance and sound insulation within buildings.
  1. Part F – Ventilation: Specifies requirements for condensation prevention, indoor air quality, and ventilation.
  2. Part G – Hygiene: Relates to sanitary conveniences and the provision of clean water in buildings.
  3. Part H – Drainage and Waste Disposal: Addresses requirements for drainage systems, waste disposal, and rainwater drainage.
  4. Part J – Heat Producing Appliances: Takes care of installing and maintaining heating appliances, such as stoves and boilers.
  5. Part K – Protection from Collision, Falling, and Impact: Addresses safety ways to avoid accidents related to falling, impact, and collisions.
  6. Part L – Conservation of Power and Fuel: Takes care of energy efficiency and sets standards for heating systems, insulation, and overall energy performance.
  7. Part M – Access to and Utilisation of Buildings: Ensures accessibility concerns for people with disabilities, ensuring that premises are usable by all people.
  8. Part P – Electrical Safety: Deals with electrical installations in dwellings, ensuring they are safe and meet electrical standards.
  9. Part Q – Security: Introduced to enhance security in new dwellings, addressing the vulnerability of doors and windows.
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What Are the Building Regulations Drawings?

To show that your project follows Building Regulations, you must provide special drawings called Building Regulations drawings for approval by the Building Control. These drawings are vital when creating new buildings or changing existing ones.

Your architect will make these drawings based on technical guidelines found in the Approved Documents. If you follow these guidelines to design your task, it ensures that your building is:

  1. Safe for people in and around it.
  2. Comfortable and up to the standards required for living.
  3. Of a good quality overall.

NOTE: Getting Building Regulations approval differs from Planning Permission. These are two separate sets of rules. Sometimes you might need both approvals, sometimes just one, and sometimes you might not need either.

When Are Building Regulations Not Required?

You don’t need to require Building Regulations for some cases:

  1. If you’re building a detached single-story structure that’s smaller than 30 square metres.
  2. If you’re building any structure that’s smaller than 15 square metres and doesn’t have bedrooms or a small conservatory extension (less than 30 square metres).
  3. If you’re fixing things and using the existing materials, or the same as the existing materials.

What Is Building Regulation Approval?

Building Regulation approval is an official document showing your project follows the required construction and design practices as stipulated under Building Regulations. This is required by the government to make sure buildings are built and designed correctly, meeting the set standards.

Simply put, Building Regulation approval is required for all the new structural work or changes to your premises. A few of the scenarios when you need this approval are:

  • Construction of new buildings: This includes both single-dwelling and multi-dwelling buildings.
  • Extensions to existing buildings: This includes loft conversions and both rear and side extensions.
  • Alterations to existing buildings: This includes changes to the structure, fabric, or use of a building.
  • Installation of certain building services: This includes electrical, gas, and heating systems.

NOTE: To get Building Regulations approval, you have two options: choose an authorised inspector or use building control services provided by your local authority.

What Is a Building Notice? When to Have It?

A building notice is like a note that tells Building Control about the work you will do. You give this notice 48 hours before you start the work. This way, you can start quickly without making detailed plans first. Inspections will be done as you go along.

This kind of notice is good for simple projects, like small extensions that follow the rules. But if your project is more complicated, using this notice might not be safe because there’s no guarantee it follows all the Building Regulations.

NOTE: Full plans and building notices last for three years, starting from when you give them to the local authority. If you don’t start the building work within this time, the approval automatically ends.

How to Get a Completion Certificate?

You’ll get a completion certificate once the building is finished and the inspector is happy with it. This is an important paper and should be kept along with the planning permission document.

You might require it if you intend to sell. You’ll also need this certificate to get the last bit of money from lenders, to get the warranty certificate, and to ask for a refund on VAT if it applies.

Remember, you won’t get the completion certificate until the building control officer gets all your certificates and checks the site one last time.

FAQs

Are building regulation drawings essential?

Yes, they're really important. Following building regulations means that inspectors come to check the work on-site and give it the final approval.

If you don't do this, you might have to pay a fine of up to £5,000 and redo the work. Not following these rules also makes it hard to sell the property later.

Do I have to inform my neighbours about my building work?

Yes, you should talk to your neighbours if you plan to build something. This is especially true if the work includes noise or creates dust, which might affect them.

If your building plans involve shared property lines or walls, you might also require a formal agreement from your neighbours called a party wall agreement.

For how long is a building notice valid?

When you provide the local authority your complete plans or a building notice, they stay valid for three years. If you don't start the building work within this time, the approval ends automatically.

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