Building Regulations

Building regulations are statutory instruments that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. Building regulations that apply across England and Wales are set out in the Building Act 1984 while those that apply across Scotland are set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

The UK Government is responsible for the relevant legislation and administration in England, the Welsh Government is the responsible body in Wales, the Scottish Government is responsible for the issue in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Executive has responsibility within its jurisdiction.

Note:
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has updated its ‘Manual to the Building Regulations’ (updated August 2021).  Also updated and available to download is the fully searchable PDF of the Approved Documents. This now incorporates the 2020 editions of Approved Document B1 and Approved Document B2. Both these items can be viewed and downloaded from the link opposite.

Approved Document L: Conservation of Fuel and Power
Approved document L Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings was updated on 15th December 2021.

This approved document takes effect on 15th June 2022 for use in England. It does not apply to work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before that date, provided the work is started on site before 15th June 2023. You can find the document in the drop down menu.

Approved Document B: Fire Safety
The Government has published its Amendments to the 2019 edition of Approved Document B: Fire Safety

Vol. 1 – Dwellings
Vol. 2 – Buildings other than dwellings

These are dated May 2020. The changes took effect on 26th November 2020. They do not apply where an initial building notice has been given to or full plans deposited with a local authority and either the building work to which it relates has started before that date or is started before 29th January 2021. You can find the documents in the drop down menu.

Scotland

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022

New legislation was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 22nd April 2022 which bans the use of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings above 11m. Since 2005, new cladding systems on high-rise blocks of flats have either had to use non-combustible materials or to pass a large-scale fire test.

This new legislation will remove the option of a fire test and therefore will completely prohibit such materials from use on domestic and other high-risk buildings such as care homes and hospitals above 11m. This comes into force on 1st June 2022.

The legislation also includes improvements to energy performance standards aimed at making buildings easier to heat while ensuring they are well ventilated and comfortable to live in. This will apply from 1st October 2022.

Updated Technical Handbooks will be available from May 2022.

More information is available from the link opposite.

Wales

Amendments have been made to the Welsh Building Regulations and to the Building (Approved Inspectors Etc.) Regulations under Statutory Instrument 2016/611 (W.168) which came into force on 17 June 2016. These cover:

  • Clarification of the application of the approved calculation methodology for the energy performance of buildings.
  • The revocation of authorisation for one competent person self-certification scheme: the removal of persons registered with BSI Assurance UK Limited.
  • Amendments to approved documents L1A, L1B, L2A and L2B: There are changes to some 45 clauses as listed in Annexes A and B of the Circular No. WGC 005/2016 dated 14 June 2016 which are available in the publications section opposite. 

Northern Ireland
On the 28th February 2022, a Statutory Rule, the Building (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 was made, which amends the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 (as amended).

The amendment regulations were made to address concerns in relation to external fire spread issues on external walls and specified attachments of buildings and to refer to an up to date atlas of radon maps to establish the need for radon protection measures or not in dwellings here.

The Statutory Rule
(a) Introduces a new prescriptive regulation in Part B (Materials and workmanship) of the building regulations to require materials which become part of an external wall or specified attachment of a ‘relevant building’ to achieve a minimum performance classification in relation to ‘reaction to fire’. In effect it bans the use of combustible materials on external walls and certain attachments on such buildings.

(b) Amends Part A (Interpretation and general) of the building regulations to apply the new requirement in Part B to buildings which become a ‘relevant building’ after a material change of use.

(c) Introduces a new definition of ‘radon affected area’ in Part C (Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture) of the building regulations to reference an updated atlas of radon maps. These new maps, based on the most recent radon surveys here, will be used to determine if radon protection measures are necessary or not in dwellings.

The Building (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 comes into operation on 1st April 2022. The amending Statutory Rule may be viewed using the link opposite.