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Building Regulations in the United Kingdom

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

If you’re looking at extending your house in the UK, you might have heard the term “Building Regulations” mentioned. In essence, these are a set of rules which must be adhered to in order to receive consent to allow the building work to be carried out. The document is split into numerous parts, each tackling a specific area of the building. Such parts would include structure, fire, sound, thermal, drainage, stairs and electrical safety.

Whilst the Building Regulations in their current form was first introduced in 1965, the origins of the British version of these legislative documents can be traced back to London around the turn of the 1200s. Constant fires due to the popularity of timber and thatched buildings as well as how crowded cities such as London were, led to many residents voicing their concerns with some matters dealt with in court.

Perhaps one of the most important events which led to the rules becoming more stringent was the Great Fire of London in 1666. The widespread damage which this caused laid down strict rules on how Buildings were to be constructed, as well as which materials should be used. This was done in order to avoid a repeat of the devastating fire which wiped out most of the City of London.

Since the introduction of the Building Regulations as we know them today some 50 years ago, many improvements in Building Technology and materials have warranted the amending of the Regulations every few years. The current Regulations which were introduced in 2010, have been amended two or three times for instance. Evolutions in the way in which Buildings are constructed have meant that new methods and techniques have been adopted as standard practice in most domestic scenarios. Cavity walls filled with Insulation have allowed houses to be warmer than ever before whilst new buildings are required to be wheelchair friendly in their design. The latter of which helps to make new homes somewhat future-proof and accessible to everyone.

Although there have been leaps and bounds in the standard of quality expected from the Regulations, they don’t cover everything. A good set of Building Regulations drawings with plenty of details should be produced to aid with this. At Building Tectonics Ltd, we pride ourselves in being able to put together the details needed to create a package that can both be used to gain Building Regulations approval and can also be used by the builders to work from. Some things such as floor and wall finishes and positions of plug sockets tend to be best left to the client and builder to discuss, although most of the hidden detail is shown within the detailed Building Regulations drawings.

Written by Tony Keller - Building Tectonics Ltd

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