What are building regulations and when do we need to follow them?Building regulations are in place to ensure the safety of the general public. They make sure that no damage can occur to the environment. They are also in place to improve fuel conservation, promoting sustainable development. As a result of their existence, building practices all across the UK must maintain high standards of efficiency throughout any building project. This encompasses the types of materials or products used throughout the build, and takes into consideration the footprint of a residential home or building after building is completed. In order to maintain the highest of standards, building regulations frequently undergo change. The British Government, in collaboration with the Department for the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, introduces amendments to the Building Regulations typically every few years. When these changes are made, they can have a significant impact on the way homes are built. Building regulation approval differs from planning permission and you may require both depending on what type of alteration you wish to make to your home. Thankfully, the team at Brackenwood are well equipped and well used to helping customers achieve both permissions where necessary.
The History of Building Regulations
The Public Health Act of 1845 was the first piece of modern building legislation. It sought to reduce risks, such as dampness, inadequate construction, unsanitary conditions, fire danger, and the lack of proper light and ventilation. All of these were detrimental to the occupants of the affected homes prior to regulations being put in place. Subsequently, the Act of 1877 empowered councils with model by-laws for constructing new streets and buildings.New legislation was introduced in 1936, which gave local councils the ability to enforce their own standards for all buildings. You can imagine that all across the UK, building practices varied (think thatched homes, for example). However, it was not until 1952 that by-laws outlined a mandatory set of measures that all councils must follow. These measures set out the minimum structural standards that had to be adhered, as well as materials, which had to perform to a certain standard. This helped to nationalise building practices in the UK and removed the authority from regional councils to set their own standards. From there, a new set of regulations were drafted in 1966 and revised in 1972. Since then, building regulations have frequently undergone alteration to include modern building standards, materials, and designs. In 2018, for example, energy efficiency regulations were upgraded, meaning that all new homes and buildings then needed to meet a certain level of efficiency. The British Government has always created the building regulations, and Parliament has been tasked with approving them. With every new set of regulations, building professionals have needed to change how they operate in line with the new set of standards.
Modern Building RegulationsThe most recent set of updates to British Building Regulations came in June 2022, which came from the British Government as a series of amendments. These changes are part of the roadmap to the 2025 Future Homes Standard. When you decide to add to, or alter your home in some way, it can be a very exciting time. However, you may need to adhere to building regulations, depending on what type of work you want to have done. It is crucial to consult with a member of the Brackenwood team who will be able to guide the installation process and adhere to building regulations. The most modern set of building regulations will now enforce the complete removal of carbon-heavy processes. They aim to achieve zero CO2 emissions by the year 2050. Among the new regulations, rules are now in place to lower the maximum carbon emissions by buildings for their lifetime by considering overheating and heat loss, fabric, and ventilation regulations that will ensure that homes retain more heat.
What Do Building Regulations Cover?According to gov.uk, these are some of the reasons you may need approval when completing alterations to your home:
- To replace fuse boxes and connected electrics
- To install a bathroom that will involve plumbing
- To change electrics near a bath or shower
- To put in a fixed air-conditioning system
- To replace windows and doors
- To replace roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs
- To install or replace a heating system
- To add extra radiators to a heating system
- Structural integrity
- Energy efficiency and performance
- Acoustic performance
- Electrical Safety
- Gas Safety (where applicable)
- Water intrusion
- Protection against contaminants
The Changing Nature of Building RegulationsBuilding regulations are subject to inevitable and continual change in line with the modernisation of building materials, designs, and practices. As building practices in the UK evolve in line with sustainable building, so, too, must the materials used to build and the methods by which houses are built. So, building regulations need to be constantly updated, to ensure the widespread adoption of building standards. The changing nature of the regulations are put in place to ensure cleaner methods of building and heating homes, promoting a greener future, not just for homeowners, but for crucial building practices throughout the UK. It can be very confusing and difficult to keep up with changes to building regulations. However, the team at Brackenwood always remains updated and aware of any changes that have been made. This removes any pressure on you, the homeowner, to follow these regulations yourself. Instead, our team of trusted installers that are assessed and approved under the FENSA competent person scheme will guide you through the entire process, to make sure that the correct materials are used and that all regulations are followed. This will ensure that your home has the most modern, safe, and efficient installations possible.
When Do You Need to Get Building Regulation Approval?The good news is that you don’t need to get building regulation approval yourself as long as you get someone who is registered through a competent person scheme like FENSA. The latest set of building regulations cover three types of buildings:
- New residential buildings
- Existing residential buildings
- Buildings other than residential dwellings