Summary of the 'approved documents'

Building Regulations 2010

A consolidated edition of the Building Regulations is available. This document contains information to illustrate which building work, or construction activity, must comply with the Building Regulations and what work falls outside the scope of the Regulations: Building Regulations 2010

Schedule One of the Building Regulations contains the subject areas (or Parts) that need to be considered when making a Building Regulation application.

Each subject area (or part) has a book that provides supporting information or guidance called an Approved Document. Copies of the Approved Documents can be downloaded free from Approved Documents

Approved documents summary

The Approved Documents provide advice and guidance on the standards and outcomes required in buildings and premises, so that:

  • Part A: Structural safety

    • The weight of the building from the walls, furniture and people in the building will be transmitted to the ground, so as not to cause instability to the building or other buildings;
    • Requires buildings to be built in a way ensuring no collapse will occur disproportionate to its cause;
    • Ground movement such as freezing of subsoil will not impair the stability of the building.
  • Part B: Fire safety

    • Requires safe means of escape from the building;
    • Requires the stability of a building to be maintained in a fire, both internally and externally;
    • Internally, the wall lining, that is plaster, plasterboard or wooden boards on the walls and ceiling will resist the spread of flames and give off reasonable levels of heat, if on fire;
    • Internal stability will be maintained during fire and fire spread will be prohibited;
    • Fire and smoke will be prohibited from spreading to concealed spaces in a buildings structure;
    • Externally - The external walls and roof will resist spread of fire to walls and roofs of other buildings;
    • The building will be easily accessible for fire fighters and their equipment.
  • Part C: Site preparation and damp proofing

    • Nothing should be growing on the ground covered by the building;
    • Precautions must be taken to stop gases and dangerous substances from previous land use from entering the building and endangering the health and safety of occupants;
    • Subsoil drainage will be in place, if needed, to stop the passage of ground moisture to the interior of the building and to prevent damage to the fabric of the building;
    • The walls, floors and roof of the building shall prevent moisture passing to the inside of the building.
  • Part D: Toxic substances

    • Insulating materials inserted into cavity walls can give off fumes. Prevention must be taken to stop these fumes reaching occupants of the building.
  • Part E: Soundproofing

    • Floors and walls between domestic buildings should have a certain resistance to the passage of sound;
    • Sound insulation requirements also apply to floors and certain walls within individual dwellings and new schools.
  • Part F: Ventilation

    • The building should be adequately ventilated to provide a healthy and comfortable environment, whilst protecting against the risk of air borne pollution.
  • Part G: Hygiene

    • Adequate sanitation facilities, that is, a toilet;
    • A house must have either a bath or shower with ability to heat hot water;
    • Restrictions apply to who can install unvented hot water storage systems.
  • Part H: Drainage and waste disposal

    • An adequate system to carry water used for cooking, washing, toilet, bath or shower to a sewer cesspool or settlement tank must be in place;
    • A cesspool or settlement tank must be impermeable to liquids and have adequate ventilation. It must also have means of access for emptying, not harm the health of any person and not contaminate water or water supply;
    • An adequate system to carry rainwater away from the roof of a building, for example, guttering carrying water to a sewer;
    • A place to put a wheelie bin or dustbin. The place must not harm anyone's health.
  • Part J: Heating appliances

    • Any heating appliances, boilers or similar devices must work safely, efficiently and be provided with sufficient air supply to burn correctly, protecting against the risk of pollution and ill health, whilst associated chimneys or flues must be safe to use and protect the building and fuel storage from a risk of fire. Building owners and users need to be given information regarding the safe use of the appliances, flues and equipment. Where solid fuel appliances are installed in dwellings, a carbon monoxide detector must be fitted.
  • Part K: Stairs, ramps and guards

    • Stairs, ramps and ladders shall provide safety for people, when moving between different levels of a building;
    • Stairs, ramps, floors and balconies shall be adequately guarded;
    • Safety shall be provided for people using vehicle ramps and loading bays.
  • Part L: Conservation of fuel and power

    • The building and services contained within the premises must promote the conservation of fuel and power, whilst reducing the amount of CO2  produced, whilst the fabric of the building must contain insulation to limit heat loss, heating appliances, associated equipment and lighting systems must prevent wasted energy use, whilst pipes and storage vessels are insulated to reduce the waste of energy.
  • Part M: Access and facilities for people with disabilities

    In Part M, 'people with disabilities' means people who have an impairment which limits their ability to walk or which requires them to use a wheelchair for mobility or have impaired hearing or sight.

    • Reasonable provision shall be made for people with disabilities at entrances to and within new dwellings and buildings.

    An existing building should have reasonable provision:

    • For people with disabilities to gain access and use the building;
    • If toilets are provided, reasonable provision shall be made available for people with disabilities;
    • If a building has seating such as audience or spectator seating, reasonable provision should be made for people with disabilities.

    See Equality and Human Rights Commission

  • Part N: Glazing materials and protection

    • Glazing that people come into contact with whilst in a building should, if broken, break in a way unlikely to cause injury, resist impact without breaking or be shielded or protected from impact;
    • Buildings, other than dwellings that have transparent glazing which people come into contact with while moving around a building, must have features to make it apparent. Windows that can be opened must be operated safely and provision made for safe accessible cleaning.
  • Part P: Electrical safety

    • This regulation covers electrical installations in and around dwellings and to common parts of a building serving one or more dwellings;
    • Electrical work should be carried out by a contractor or installer who is registered with a competent person scheme (if using this route then building control are notified under the competent person scheme); or
    • A competent person who can install and test the work could also be used to carry out the work. This work would be controlled under a building regulation application.

    See also:

For more information on Building Regulation Service, please contact: Building control services.