The approved documents
Each part of the regulations are supported by a separate document called an "Approved Document" which contains practical and technical guidance on ways in how the requirements can be met.
Each Approved Document details the requirements contained in the Building Regulations relevant to the subject area plus practical and technical guidance, with examples, on how the requirements can be met in some of the more common building scenarios. However, there may be other ways of meeting the requirements to those shown in the Approved Documents. For this reason you are under no obligation to adopt any particular solution in an Approved Document if your preferance is to meet the requirement(s) in another way.
What are the Building Regulations?
Building Regulations are national standards which apply to all types of buildings, from major new developments to an extension to your home. They cover all aspects of construction, including foundations, damp-proofing, the overall stability of the building, insulation, energy conservation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire. They also ensure that adequate access and facilities for people with disabilities are provided to buildings.
Building Regulations are constantly being updated. By clicking on a heading, you will be taken to the Approved Document on the ODPM website.
Click here to view the Building Regulations Page on the ODPM website.
A – Structure
Part A requires buildings to be designed, constructed and altered in order to be structurally safe and robust, and also so as not to impair the structural stability of other buildings. It stipulates design standards that should be adopted for use on all buildings and additionally gives design rules for most masonry and timber elements for traditional domestic buildings.
B – Fire Safety
Part B covers all fire precautionary measures that are necessary to provide safety from fire that will safeguard building occupants, persons in the vicinity of buildings, and fire fighters. Requirements and guidance cover means of escape in case of fire, fire detection and warning systems, fire resistance of structural elements, fire separation, protection, compartmentation and isolation to prevent fire spread and conflagration, control of flammable materials, and access and facilities for fire fighting.
C – Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture
Many subjects are embraced by this part. These include the weather and water tightness of buildings, subsoil drainage, site preparation, and measures to deal with contaminated land, Radon, Methane, and all other site related hazardous and dangerous substances.
D – Toxic Substances
This controls against the use of certain toxics materials being used in buildings.
E – Resistance to the Passage of Sound
Requirements for sound insulation between buildings are contained in this part in respect of all new dwellings and the conversion of buildings to form dwellings. The use of sound testing or robust details is required. Other acoustic standards are also included. These cover sound reduction between rooms for residential purposes and designated rooms in dwellings, acoustic conditions for common areas in flats and schools.
F – Ventilation
Standards for ventilation and air quality requirements for all buildings are included in this part. It also covers requirements for prevention against condensation occurring in roofs, etc.
G – Hygiene
This part lays down standards for the provision of sanitary and washing facilities, bathrooms and hot water provision. It also covers safety requirements in respect of unvented hot water systems.
H – Drainage and Waste Disposal
Part H requires that adequate drainage systems be provided and also deals with pollution prevention, sewage infrastructure issues, and maintenance and adoption regimes for sewers.
Technical design standards included cover sanitary pipework, foul drainage, rainwater drainage and disposal, wastewater treatment and discharges, cesspools, building over or close to public sewers and refuse storage.
J – Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems
These regulations cover the construction, installation and use of boilers, chimneys, flues, hearths and fuel storage installations. They control against fire sources, burning, pollution, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.
K – Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact
Part K sets standards for the safety of stairways, ramps and ladders, together with requirements for balustrading, windows and vehicle barriers to prevent falling. Also included are requirements for the guarding and warning of hazards from the use and position of doors and windows.
L1 – Conversion of Fuel and Power in dwellings
Part L1 is specific to dwelling. It controls the insulation values of building elements, the allowable area of windows, doors and other openings, air permeability of the structure, the heating efficiency of boilers and the insulation and controls for heating appliances and systems together with hot water storage and lighting efficiency. It also sets requirements foe SAP and Carbon Index ratings for dwellings. Further regulations also require the advertising of these ratings.
ADL1 is supported by a set of robust standard construction details.
L2 – Conservation of Fuel and Power other than dwellings
Part L2 relates to all building uses other than dwellings. In addition to insulation requirements and limitation of openings of the building fabric this part considers solar heating and heat gains to structures, it controls heating, mechanical ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting efficiency, space heating controls, air permeability plus air tightness and commissioning of heating and ventilation systems, and requirements for energy meters.
M – Access and Facilities for Disabled People
Part M requires the inclusive provision of ease of access to and circulation within all buildings, together with requirements for facilities for disabled people.
N – Glazing Safety in relation to Impact, Opening and Cleaning
Requirements for the use of safety glazing to avoid impact hazard and for the suitable awareness and definition of glazed areas are contained in Part N. Also included are safety requirements relating to the use, operation, and cleaning of windows.
Regulation 7 – Materials and Workmanship
This regulation covers all materials, products, fittings, and components to be fit for their purpose and for adequate workmanship to be applied in construction operations. This regulation sets out methods for verification of products and construction methods via the use of British and European Standards, CE marking, authorised testing and certification schemes, or other suitable assessment methods that prove compliance.
P – Electrical Safety
This new approved document deals with electrical safety in dwellings. Applications can be made following this guidance for relevant works as an alternative to having the electrical installation designed, installed and commissioned by a ‘competent contractor’.