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 Ministry of Housing & Local Government (MHCLG) 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 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 take 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 here

In Scotland, the Scottish Government Building Standards Division has published updated versions of their two Building Standards Technical Handbooks (domestic and non-domestic) which take effect from 1st October 2019.

The changes introduced into the 2019 editions are as follows:

Domestic:

Section 2 – Fire
Appendix A – Defined terms
Appendix B – List of standards and other publications

Non-domestic:

Section 2 – Fire
Section 3 – Environment
Appendix A – Defined terms
Appendix B – List of standards and other publications

The main changes cover:

  • Revisions throughout Section 2 (Fire) covering fire performance of external cladding systems in high-rise domestic buildings and certain higher risk non-domestic buildings; provisions for means of escape; evacuation alerts and signage in high-rise domestic buildings.
  • Under standard 3.12 (Sanitary facilities) introduction of the provision for Changing Places Toilets in larger new non-domestic buildings, extensions and conversion.

For a more detailed breakdown of the clauses changed/introduced into the 2019 editions please click here

Guidance to the changes can be downloaded from the publications link opposite.

Welsh Building Regulations

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.

Scottish Advice Note: Determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems in existing multi-storey residential buildings.

A new Scottish Advice Note: Determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems in existing multi-storey residential buildings has been published (04.08.2021). This Scottish Advice Note provides advice for those responsible for fire safety in residential buildings including building owners/managers/residents’ groups responsible for determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems on existing multi-storey residential buildings.

The purpose of this Advice Note is to assist in determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems in existing multi-storey residential buildings. This will require a fire safety risk assessment and, in some cases, an intrusive appraisal of the external wall system. The aim is to ensure that people are not placed at undue risk of harm as a result of fire spread over or within the external wall system. This Advice Note is concerned with life safety.

For the purpose of this Advice Note, an external wall system includes the external wall cladding system (including cavity barriers and any insulation material behind the outer cladding), spandrel panels, window infill panels, balconies, solar shading and any other architectural feature or attachment to the external building structure. The main body of this Note deals with cladding systems and Annex 1 contains information on other external wall system features.

This Advice Note supplements existing risk-based fire safety guidance and must be considered in that context. The document can be downloaded from the menu opposite.