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Technical assistance and requirements

What technical advice can we give?

Please see below for details of the technical advice we can give. Please note also that, if you wish to apply for building control approval, it is necessary to submit a Full Plans Application Form (see downloadable documents).

Drawing on extensive knowledge of materials and construction methods, the Building Control Officers can assist you with any structural design and specification questions you may have on all kinds of buildings, from bungalows to barns, from high-tech industrial units to office blocks, or from extensions to internal alterations. In addition, specialist advisors in structural engineering, drainage, means of escape, planning and health can be available to give you first-hand assistance when you need it.

For further information contact:

DEFA Planning and Building Control

Telephone:+44 1624 685902

Fax:+44 1624 685875

Email:Send Email

Approved Documents

The technical requirements of the Regulations and guidance on how to meet those requirements are contained in approved documents published by HMSO and can be downloaded from the DEFA P&BC Library.

A building needs to be designed in accordance with codes of practice so that dead, imposed and wind loads are safely transmitted through the structure to the ground, without causing deflection or deformation which would impair the stability of it, or adjacent buildings (A1). Consideration also needs to be given to the effects of ground movements (A2) and disproportionate collapse (A3).

This is the largest of the Approved Documents as the subject is both wide-ranging and complex. There are five requirements which, when taken together, aim to ensure that a fire in a building will not endanger the safety of it's occupants, it's neighbours or fire fighters.

All buildings (except HM Prisons!) need to be designed and constructed to have a means of escape in case of fire to a place of safety outside the building (B1). Internal wall and ceiling surfaces need to be of materials that resist the spread of flame over their surfaces and do not release excessive heat once ignited (B2). The structure of the building needs to have sufficient fire resistance to maintain it's stability for a reasonable period (B3). To prevent fire spreading easily within a building, and to other buildings, fire separations and cavity barriers need to be provided (B3). The external surfaces of walls and roofs need to be of materials, which will restrict the spread of fire over them (B4). The building needs to provide the fire brigade with access and facilities to fight a fire (B5).

A building needs to be able to protect it's occupants from the effects of hazardous materials (e.g. Radon) and other substances in the ground (C1 and C2), and from dampness arising from moisture in the ground (C3) and the weather (C4).

Toxic fumes from cavity wall insulation must not permeate into any occupied building.

One of the major complaints against our neighbours is when unwanted noise disturbs us in our homes. Walls separating any building, or part, from dwellings need to resist the transmission of airborne sound (E1). Floors or stairs separating any space from a dwelling need to resist the transmission of airborne sound (E2). Floors or stairs separating any space from a dwelling below the space need to resist the transmission of impact sound (E3).

The occupants of a building need to be provided with sufficient natural or mechanical ventilation (F1) and certain roof voids need to be ventilated to prevent excessive condensation forming (F2).

The occupants of buildings must be provided with the use of sufficient sanitary conveniences and washing facilities (G1), and with hot and cold water in dwellings (G2). Unvented hot water storage systems need to be safely installed (G3).

Part H: Drainage and Waste Disposal

Foul water (H1) and rainwater from roofs (H3) need to be provided with adequate drainage systems. Where a septic tank, cesspool or settlement tank is provided it needs to be adequately sited, constructed and ventilated (H2). Adequate storage of solid waste needs to be provided (H6). Building over sewers (H4) and separate system of drainage (H5).

Wood burning fires/stoves, boilers burning solid fuel, oil or gas, and incinerators all need to be supplied with; sufficient air to permit efficient combustion and exhaust (J1), adequate flues or chimneys to discharge the products of combustion to the outside air (J2), and suitably constructed fire places and flues to reduce the risk of the building catching fire (J3), provision of information (J4), protection of liquid fuel storage systems (J5) and protection against pollution (J6).

Accordingly Building Regulations require that all heat producing appliances must be fitted in accordance with the minimum standards of safety (this has been the case since 1993) for which an application must be made to relevant Building Control Authority for approval.

The Building Regulations 2007 came into operation on 1st July 2007 (later replaced and revoked by the Building Regulations 2014) which gave two options to property owners when deciding to install these types of appliances:

  1. Make an application to the relevant Building Control Authority for approval (a fee based on estimated cost of works is charged for this service); Or
  2. Employ a Government-approved Competent Person who is either member of HETAS (HETAS is the acronym for the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) which is the independent UK body recognised by UK and Isle of Man Governments or a person approved by the Department as having fulfilled the criteria of competent person scheme for the official testing and installation of domestic solid fuel and wood burning appliances and associated equipment and services to carry out the work and to notify your Local Building Control Authority within 30 days of completion of works and will issue a Completion Certificate without charge to their client and the Building Authority.

The Departments Building Control Section has a list of tradesman registered to install solid fuel burning appliances (as a member of HETAS) and who are expected to be fully aware of their client’s obligations.

The installation of a domestic oil tank will not require building regulation approval if it is proposed to be fitted by an OFTEC qualified person. Where a tank is proposed to be installed by a person other than OFTEC qualified person, a Building Regulation application is required for approval. Advice as to the placement of the tank can be given by contacting the Building Control office Tel +44 1624 685902 

Part K: Stairs, Ramps and Guards

Most accidents within buildings happen on, or around, changes in level. Stairs, ladders and ramps forming part of a building need to be designed and constructed to offer safety to users moving between levels of the building (K1). Guarding should be provided to protect the users from the risk of falling from stairs, ramps, floors and balconies and from any roof where people normally have access (K2). Where vehicles have access to any floor, ramp or roof, barriers to protect people in or about the building should be provided (K3).

Although it is not a matter of health and safety, the Government considers that energy conservation is important enough to be controlled by the Building Regulations. This can be achieved; by limiting heat loss through the walls, roofs, and floors of buildings, by providing thermostatic and timing controls for space and water heating systems, by insulating hot water vessels and pipes, and hot air ducts, and by installing efficient artificial lighting systems.

This is divided into 2 documents; Dwellings (L1) and Buildings as part of buildings other than dwellings (L2).

This requirement was made to ensure that new buildings are constructed to give the same rights as able bodied people to those unfortunate enough to have impaired mobility, hearing or sight. Provision needs to be made; to allow easy access into and about a building (M2), for suitable sanitary conveniences for disabled people (M3) and for special spaces for disabled people where audience or spectator seating is provided (M4).

Where people are likely to come into contact with glazing in or about a building provision needs to be made to ensure they are not injured by it. This can be achieved by either providing safety glass which will not break on impact, or will break in a way which is unlikely to cause injury, or by shielding the glass against contact (N1). Transparent glazing may need to incorporate features to make it apparent if the danger of collision exists (N2).

The requirements of this part only apply to electrical installations that are intended to operate at low or extra low voltage and in relation to dwellings.

Alternatively you can download them from http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/

It is important to remember that the contents of the Approved Documents are only guidance - it is not cast in stone and there is more than one way to comply with Regulations.

For an up to date Part P List please contact the Division on +44 1624 685902 or 686446.

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