What are building regulations?

Building regulations are developed by the government, and Parliament approves them. They apply to nearly every building in the country, and cover aspects such as design, construction and alterations.

While planning permission deals with appropriate development, the appearance of neighbourhoods and how land is to be used, building regulations control how buildings are designed or changed. Both need to be thought about when you are having building work done on your home.

The Building Act 1984 sets out these regulations for England and Wales, and they are regularly updated – the latest version is Building Regulations 2010. Updates generally apply to new changes but do not have to be applied retrospectively.

In England, the UK government has ultimate responsibility for legislation and administration concerning these regs.
In all, there are 14 separate headings in the regulations, each with a letter from Part A to Part Q, covering everything from fire safety to structure, drainage to electrical elements. Fuel conservation, waste disposal and protection from falling are also included. Part A (Structure), for example, requires buildings to be structurally sound and robust in both their design and construction, and for them not to damage other buildings’ structural stability.

At the same time, there are general regulations about no building project being left in a worse state than it was before works began, and that areas worked on must not be left in an unsafe condition.

Building regulations also stipulate that some work must be done by an appropriately qualified professional. (For example some tasks involving gas or electricity.) Some types of work must also be notified to the relevant Building Control department of the local council to be certified or approved.

Detailed specifications are free to view online for each Part, and for each part there is what is known as an Approved Document. These documents outline the legislation before explaining the ways in which the regulations can be complied with.

You can see most of the detailed information about building regulations here.

At Manchester Design & Build, we’re highly experienced in complying with all aspects of building regulations, on a wide variety of projects. Talk to us today about yours, and we’ll make sure it’s fully compliant from the outset.