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Building Regulations

Building regulations are the minimum standards to which buildings must adhere and are set by the government. Their purpose is to protect the health and welfare of those who construct and use buildings. They are also designed to promote fuel economy and sustainable development. Most garden rooms will not require building regulations approval. But should your project require approval, it is important to retain the certificates issues by the Building Control department as you will need them when you come to sell your property. 

Will your garden room require building regulations approval?

The requirement for building regulations approval may be a consideration in determining the design of your garden room. Here’s what you need to know:

  • A garden room with an internal floor area of less than 15m2 will not require approval (except Part P for Electrical works) unless it features sleeping accommodation, a toilet or a shower.
  • A building with an internal floor area of 15m2 – 30m2 will not require approval (except Part P for Electrical works) so long as it does not contain sleeping accommodation, a toilet or a shower and is located more than 1m from any boundary or is constructed from substantially non-combustible materials.
  • Electrical works are usually self-certified by the electrician.

To what aspects of constructions do building regulations apply?

Building regulations apply to most aspects of a construction. The required standards are provided by the government in a series of documents as follows:

  • Structure: Approved Document A
  • Fire safety: Approved Document B
  • Site preparation and resistance to contaminates and moisture: Approved Document C
  • Toxic substances: Approved Document D
  • Resistance to sound: Approved Document E4 March 2015 Statutory guidance
  • Ventilation: Approved Document F
  • Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency: Approved Document G
  • Drainage and waste disposal: Approved Document H
  • Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems: Approved Document J
  • Protection from falling, collision and impact: Approved Document K
  • Conservation of fuel and power: Approved Document L
  • Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M
  • Overheating: Approved Document O
  • Electrical safety: Approved Document P
  • Security in dwellings: Approved Document Q
  • High speed electronic communications networks: Approved Document R
  • Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles: Approved Document S
  • Material and workmanship: Approved Document 7

Happily, the government has now created a merged document which incorporates all the above documents. Click here to read the merged document.

How do you make an application?

There are two types of building regulations application – a Building Notice application and a Full Plans application. With a Building Notice, it is possible to carry out the work without prior to approval. With a Full Plans application, you submit plans and documents to be approved in advance.

A Full Plans application will ensure that you know from the outset that the working drawings have been checked and approved by the building inspector and that the plans fully comply with all the Building Regulations. Any issues regarding non-compliance can be addresses before building work starts. A Building notice is basically a promise that you will comply with the regulations and should be all that is required for a garden room. However, it will mean that if any non-compliance is discovered during construction, building work will have to cease until the problem is resolved. You will still need to complete a form that provides details of the building work and submit a site plan. You may also be asked to provide drawings of the building with a structural engineer’s calculations and also details of energy performance.

Who Grants Building Regulations Approval?

You can choose to use either a local authority inspector from your local council or an approved inspector from a government-approved private building inspection company. Only an inspector from your local authority has powers of enforcement. An approved inspector will hand the project over to the local authority if there are issues with it. There are several inspection stages and work cannot proceed beyond them without approval:

  • Excavations for foundations
  • Foundation concrete
  • Oversite
  • Damp-proof course
  • Foul water drains trenches open
  • Surface water drains trenches open
  • Occupation prior to completion (second fix)
  • Completion

When the building is completed to the satisfaction of the inspector, a Completion Certificate will be issued. This document is important and must be retained as you will need it when you come to sell your property. Some aspects of the project, including electrical works, can be self-certified by the installer.

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