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Building Regulations Approved Documents

Approved documents

The Building Regulations are supported by Approved Documents, which indicate how compliance with the Regulations may be achieved.  The approved documents are split into 14 key parts and a number of guidance notes. These are listed below:

Part A - Structural Safety

The weight of the building from the walls, furniture and people in the building will be transmitted to the ground, so as not to cause instability to the building or other buildings.

  • requires buildings to be built in a way ensuring no collapse will occur disproportionate to its cause.
  • ground movement such as freezing of subsoil will not impair the stability of the building.

Part B - Fire Safety

  • requires safe means of escape from the building.
  • requires the stability of a building to be maintained in a fire, both internally and externally.
  • internally - the wall lining i.e. plaster, plasterboard or wooden boards on the walls and ceiling will resist the spread of flames and give off reasonable levels of heat, if on fire.
  • internal stability will be maintained during fire and fire spread will be prohibited.
  • fire and smoke will be prohibited from spreading to concealed spaces in a buildings structure.
  • externally - the external walls and roof will resist spread of fire to walls and roofs of other buildings.
  • the building will be easily accessible for fire fighters and their equipment.

Part C - Site Preparation and Damp Proofing

  • nothing should be growing on the ground covered by the building.
  • precautions must be taken to stop gases and dangerous substances from previous land use from entering the building and endangering the health and safety of occupants.
  • subsoil drainage will be in place, if needed, to stop the passage of ground moisture to the interior of the building and to prevent damage to the fabric of the building.
  • the walls, floors and roof of the building shall prevent moisture passing to the inside of the building.

Part D - Toxic Substances

  • insulating materials inserted into cavity walls can give off fumes. Prevention must be taken to stop these fumes reaching occupants of the building.

Part E - Soundproofing

  • floors and walls between domestic buildings should have a certain resistance to the passage of sound.
  • sound insulation requirements also apply to floors and certain walls within individual dwellings and new schools.

Part F - Ventilation

  • the building must have adequate ventilation and provision to prevent condensation occurring in the roof structure.

Part G - Hygiene

  • adequate sanitation facilities ie. toilet.
  • a house must have either a bath or shower with ability to heat hot water.
  • unvented hot water storage systems - Restrictions apply to who can install the system.

Part H - Drainage and Waste Disposal

  • an adequate system to carry water used for cooking, washing, toilet, bath or shower to a sewer cesspool or settlement tank must be in place.
  • a cesspool or settlement tank must be impermeable to liquids and have adequate ventilation. It must also have means of access for emptying, not harm the health of any person and not contaminate water or water supply.
  • an adequate system to carry rainwater away from the roof of a building eg. guttering carrying water to a sewer.
  • a place to put a wheelie bin or dustbin. The place must not harm anyone's health.

Part J - Heating Appliances

  • must have an adequate air supply for combustion and for efficient working of a fluepipe or chimney.
  • appliances shall discharge the products of combustion to the outside.
  • the appliance, fireplace and chimney shall reduce the risk of the building catching fire.

Part K - Stairs, Ramps and Guards

  • stairs, ramps and ladders shall provide safety for people, when moving between different levels of a building.
  • stairs, ramps, floors and balconies shall be adequately guarded.
  • safety shall be provided for people using vehicle ramps and loading bays.

Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Power

Part L has recently been sub-divided into four areas, New Dwellings, Existing Dwellings, New Buildings Other Than Dwellings, Existing Buildings Other Than Dwellings.

  • provision must be made for the conservation of fuel and power in a building.
  • the fabric of the building must limit heat loss.
  • controls to operate the heating of the building and heating of water.
  • by limiting heat loss from hot water tanks and hot water pipes.
  • lighting systems in buildings should use no more energy than needed and have adequate controls.

Part M - Access and Facilities for People with Disabilities

In Part M, "people with disabilities" means people who have an impairment which limits their ability to walk or which requires them to use a wheelchair for mobility or have impaired hearing or sight.

  • reasonable provision shall be made for people with disabilities at entrances to and within new dwellings and buildings.

An existing building should have reasonable provision:

  • for people with disabilities to gain access and use the building.
  • if toilets are provided, reasonable provision shall be made available for people with disabilities.
  • if a building has seating such as audience or spectator seating, reasonable provision should be made for people with disabilities.

Part P - Electrical Safety

Approved Document Q - Security Dwellings

This part only applies to new dwellings and states that reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling; and any part of a building from which access can be gained to a flat within the building.

The approved document sets out reasonable standards for doors and windows to resist physical attack by a casual or opportunist burglar, by being both sufficiently robust and fitted with appropriate hardware.

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