What are building regulations?
This page provides general information about Building Regulations and a brief summary of the purpose of the regulations.
Building Regulations are approved by Parliament and set out certain standards that must be met during the design and construction of building work carried out in domestic and commercial premises. These standards ensure the health and safety of people around and within buildings and also provide for such factors as access to buildings for disabled people, means of escape in case of fire and energy conservation.
Any work carried out to a property that affects the structural integrity or means of escape in case of fire will need consent under the Building Regulations. Work such as extensions, loft conversions, internal work to load-bearing structures, the erection of certain detached buildings, alterations to drainage, replacement roofs and change of use and conversions require consent.
The regulations have 13 parts and they are expressed in broad, functional terms to enable designers and builders to use innovative methods in preparing their plans.
Each part is supported by its "Approved Document" which reproduces the requirement contained in the Building Regulations. This is followed by practical and technical guidance with examples on how the regulations can be met in some more common buildings. If an alternative method of meeting the requirements can be shown, there is no obligation to adopt any particular solution shown in an Approved Document. If an alternative method is used, proof showing the method is at least equivalent to that shown in the Approved Documents is required.
The latest versions of the Approved Documents can be downloaded online for free in Adobe PDF format from the Planning Portal website (new window). Or you can purchase them from The Stationery Office by calling 0870 600 55 22.