Building Regulations are principally aimed at health and safety but also include energy conservation and disabled access. Minor matters such as decoration and finishes are not covered.
The regulations are statements of building requirements, which have evolved over a period of time. Their aim is to offer guidance in achieving the required standards.
Listed below is a brief outline of the principles and objectives contained within each of the Approved Documents.
Part A - Structure
This covers the aspects of structural elements of a building offering guidance on the basic requirements for stability, ground movements and disproportional collapse. In addition, it offers practical guidance for common timber structural members by way of a series of tables.
Part B - Fire Safety and Design
This document concerns itself with the very important subject of designing a building with regard to fire.
Its aims and objectives are principally to prevent the initial outbreak of a fire and in event of a fire starting, to contain that fire, prevent it from spreading, and allow the occupants of the building time to evacuate.
Buildings are also required to comply with specific requirements for fire fighting access and facilities. Guidance is also offered with regard to early detection by way of automatic fire detectors and alarm systems.
Part C - Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture
This document sets out the requirements concerning contaminated/landfill sites with regard to possible associated hazards and the remedial and precautionary methods necessary.
It also states the requirements regarding the prevention of moisture ingress into the fabric or building.
Part D - Cavity Insulation
Part D relates to the insertion of insulation into the cavity of a cavity wall, and states reasonable precautions to be taken in order to prevent toxic substances permeating into the building.
Part E - Resistance to the Passage of Sound
Noise pollution is a problem that is addressed by various methods.
Sound travels both through the air and through the structure of a building and as such is tackled separately with requirements for airborne and impact sound resistance.
Part F - Ventilation and Condensation Control
This document outlines the requirements for ventilation and the control of condensation in buildings.
It has recently been extended and now includes provisions for both dwellings and non-domestic buildings.
Part G - Sanitary Appliances
Approved document G concerns itself with the provision of adequate sanitary conveniences and bathrooms to buildings, together with safety precautions and installation requirements on unvented hot water storage systems.
Part H - Drainage and Waste
In this document the provisions for foul and surface water drainage both above and below ground are laid out, together with the requirements for the solid waste storage.
Part J - Heat Producing Appliances
Part J covers the requirements of air supply, exhaust products and heat protection for heating appliances, which are under the control of the building regulations.
Part K - Stairways and Ramps
This documents lays down the criteria for stairways and ramps such that they are uniform and afford safe passage for their intended users.
It also covers the legislation concerning protection from falling and guarding in and around buildings for both pedestrians and vehicles.
Part L1&2 - Conservation of Fuel and Power
Part L concerns itself with the limitation of heat loss through the fabric of the building and provision of controls for space heating and hot water storage.
This now indicates energy ratings. All new dwellings must now have a SAP energy rating which will give an indication of the energy efficiency of the dwelling.
Part M - Access and Facilities for Disabled People.
This document provides guidance for designers relating to facilities and access to, into and within a building for disabled people.
It also states the requirements for disabled persons with regard to audience and spectator seating in public buildings.
Part N - Glazing
This is a new document offering practical guidance relating to unprotected glazed areas within buildings, to reduce the risk of injury for any user.
Part P - Electrical Safety
This is a new document offering practical guidance relating to electrical installations within buildings, to reduce the risk of injury for any user.
The Secretary of State is empowered to make building regulations principally to secure the Health and Safety in or about the buildings.
The regulations are continually under review and the DOE consult the Building Regulation Advisory Committee prior to the enactment of any additional controls or the removal of any outdated requirements.
The Approved Documents are then amended to keep abreast of modern building design.