Building regulations are statutory instruments that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. Building regulations that apply across England and Wales are set out in the Building Act 1984 while those that apply across Scotland are set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

The UK Government is responsible for the relevant legislation and administration in England, the Welsh Government is the responsible body in Wales, the Scottish Government is responsible for the issue in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Executive has responsibility within its jurisdiction.

Changes in the Regulations

From 1 January 2005 the term building work includes work on household electrics.

The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 made provision for micro generation to be brought within the Building Regulations, and increased to two years the time limit for prosecuting contraventions of the regulations relating to energy use, energy conservation or carbon emissions. It also requires the Secretary of State to report on compliance with these aspects of the Building Regulations and steps proposed to increase compliance.

From 6 April 2006, the Building Regulations are extended by amendments to incorporate some of the Euro codes requiring energy in existing and new buildings to be measured, etc. The core term building work was once again amended and extended in scope to include renovation of thermal elements, and energy used by space cooling systems as well as energy used by space heating systems. Both are now subject to efficiency limits, and energy use controls are required. New additional competent person’s schemes were proposed and authorised, in respect of energy systems and energy efficient design.

New Approved Documents for Part F and Part L were issued along with specified 'second tier' guidance documents.

A total rewrite of Approved Document for Part P (Electrical Safety) was also issued in 2006. A total rewrite of the Building Regulations was issued in 2010. However, this has since been amended several times again, in 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014.

A total rewrite of Approved Document for Part K (Protection against Falling, & Glazing Safety, etc.) was also issued in 2012/2013. This new Part K now incorporates all that once was within Part N (Glazing Safety).

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