Synergy News & Blog: Bath Office
Building Regulations Briefing 2016
There are two options available for gaining Building Regulation consent, either through the Local Authority or an Approved Inspector. Although Self Certification has been widely proposed and is expected to be introduced with the next update in 2019.
An Approved Inspector quotes a bespoke fee for a project as opposed to Local Authority scale fees. They aim to provide consistency as opposed to differing interpretations.
Building Regulations can be dated back to the 1666 Great Fire of London and are minimum standards of health and safety.
Each regulation is backed up by ‘Approved Documents’ which are guidance and it is also possible to demonstrate compliance by other means.
There have been recent updates to Approved Documents G, L and M.
Part G – Sanitation, Hot water safety and water efficiency
- Requires a water efficiency calculator to be applied to new dwellings.
- Proposes that a water softener or re-useable system is provided.
- Guidance on fittings approach as alternative to water efficiency calculation.
Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Power
- New buildings must achieve higher U-Values and greater airtightness.
- SBEM calculations have to use actual installed lighting wattage thus penalising over-lit spaces.
- There is a new non-domestic building services compliance guide.
- All new buildings require an analysis of the feasibility of using alternative energy systems.
Part M4 – Access and use of Buildings
- Three categories of accessibility– Visitable (1), Accessible and Adaptable (2) and Wheelchair (3).
Part M4 (1) – Visitable Dwellings
- The base standard for all new dwellings.
Part M4 (2) – Accesible and Adaptable Dwellings
- All residents must be able to access refuse stores.
- Drainage for all paved areas must be installed with suitable falls.
- All multi-storey flats are to be provided with a lift.
- Compulsory provision for houses to have a future stair/lift e.g. a power supply.
- Principal living areas are to have low level window cills.
- Bathrooms must have direct route to a window at least 750mm wide.
- Walls must be built to carry future grab rails in bathrooms/stairs.
- Drainage must be provided for future level access shower room on ground floor.
- Window handle locks at the ground storey must be between 850mm -1200mm high.
Part M4(3) – Wheelchair Accessible Dwellings
- Living spaces including bedrooms have a minimum size.
- Scooter/wheelchair storage must be provided.
- A stepped approach must be provided as well as ramps with incline of no more than 1:15.
- Communal entrances provisions for the future must be installed e.g. a power supply.
- Bedrooms must have minimum direct route to the window around the furniture at least 1000mm wide.
- A lifting platform must be provided in houses.
- Stairs in accordance with the guidance for ‘ambulant’ disabled.
- Kitchen worktop length depending on the number of persons.
- Bedroom ceilings must be capable of taking the load of a future hoist.
- Door entry systems with answering station in the main bedroom and in the lounge.
Building Regulations have continued to expand in scope such as Part Q which deals with security requirements and a new Part R is coming in 2017 relating to internet connection and minimum broadband speed.
We certainly have come a long way since the Great Fire of London!