Building Control is a statutory service that ensures that construction works are carried out to an acceptable standard, so that buildings are structurally sound, moisture resistant, adequately insulated etc. It covers works from the installation of a boiler/removal of chimney breast to the erection of multi million pound projects.
The Government publishes Approved Documents, which demonstrate how the requirements of the Building Regulations may be satisfied. They are not the only means of satisfying these requirements. Other ways can include using guidance published by the British Standards Institute, Building Research Establishment etc.
If building work is carried out without an application?
If you carry out work without an application, you could be taken to court by your local authority as part of enforcement action and you could prejudice a future sale of the property.
The requirements of the Building Regulations can be divided into 13 different subjects:
The foundations, walls, floors and roof should be of adequate size and construction for the weight they are expected to accommodate. In the case of a domestic floor, this could include the weight of the ceiling below, floor joists, floor boarding, furniture and occupants.
Any structural frame, beams or columns must be designed to safely support the likely loading.
2. Fire Safety
- Fire safety is a complex subject, which to avoid confusion is divided into the following areas:
- Means of Escape in the Event of Fire: Buildings should be designed so that occupants can escape from any part of the building to a place of safety without assistance.
In dwellings, this is relatively straightforward and one would normally expect to see smoke detection, escape windows from habitable rooms above ground floor level etc.
Where loft conversions are carried out on buildings of more than one storey, additional measures such as the provision of self-closing devices on doors opening onto the staircase and a half-hours fire protection between the loft rooms and the staircase are necessary.
- Surface Spread of Flame: Surface finishes or coverings on walls should not promote the spread of fire in a building. This requirement is most critical on escape routes. In dwellings, this only relates to new work and then only to coverings such as timber cladding or carpet fixed to walls.
- Fire Resistance of Structure: The structure of buildings should resist the effects of fire including heat and smoke for a reasonable period of time.
In dwellings traditional construction materials such as brickwork and plaster usually provide sufficient fire resistance. However, additional measures may be required where loft conversions are carried out and where a garage is attached to a house.
- External Fire Spread: Buildings should be constructed so that the risk of fire spreading from one building to another, as happened in the Great Fire of London, is minimised. There are limits on the amount and size of door and window openings near to a boundary in dwellings and other buildings. There are also restrictions on the use of combustible cladding and on flat roof finishes near to boundaries.
- Access for the Fire Brigade: Buildings should be constructed so that fire fighting can be carried out successfully. Dwellings and other buildings should have access for fire fighting vehicles or be near enough to access for fire fighting.
A consultation is often necessary with The Fire Brigade, which we are able to do on your behalf.
3. Cavity Wall Insulation
Toxic fumes from cavity wall insulation must not permeate into any occupied building.
4. Resistance to the Passage of Sound
Walls between buildings and floors and stairs between different occupancies within a building should resist the passage of sound.
The occupants of a building should be provided with sufficient ventilation by natural or mechanical means. Roof spaces where condensation could occur should be ventilated. Similarly, if condensation could occur in sub floor voids and damage the fabric of the building as result, they should be ventilated.
There should be sufficient hot and cold water, sanitary and washing facilities for the occupants of a building. Unventilated or pressurised hot water systems must be safely installed.
7. Drainage and Waste Disposal
Foul water and surface (rain) water drainage should discharge to a suitable outfall. There should be suitable means for the storage of household solid waste.
8. Heat Producing Appliances
Fires, boilers and incinerators burning any fuel must be provided with sufficient air for combustion and a satisfactory means of disposing of combustion gases or fumes. The placement and construction of appliances and their flues should reduce the risk of a building catching fire.
9. Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact
Stairs, fixed ladders and ramps should be designed and constructed so that people can move safely in or about a building. Raised floors, balconies, light wells etc. should be provided with guarding to prevent people from falling. People should be protected from vehicles that may be moving about a building. People should be protected from colliding with open windows, skylights, ventilators or doors.
10. Conservation of Fuel and Power
The loss of heat through elements of the fabric of a building such as roofs, walls, floors, windows or doors, should be limited. Hot water systems should be insulated to reduce heat loss. The use of energy within a building, e.g. lighting and water heating should be controlled.
11. Access and Facilities for Disabled People
Reasonable provisions should be made for disabled people to gain access to and use a building. There should be suitable sanitary facilities within the building.
12. Safety of Glazing in Relation to Impact, Opening and Cleaning
People using a building should be protected from injury by glazing if they are likely to come into contact with it.