The following is a high level summary of the Building Regulations relevant to most types of building work. Where there is any doubt you should consult the full text of the regulations, available at www.legislation.gov.uk.
Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations defines ‘building work’. Building work includes:
a. the erection or extension of a building
b. the provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting
c. the material alteration of a building or a controlled service or fitting.
Regulation 4 states that building work should be carried out in such a way that, when work is complete:
a. for new buildings or work on a building that complied with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations: the work and the building comply with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations.
b. for work on an existing building that did not comply with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations:
(i) the work itself must comply with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations
(ii) the building must be no more unsatisfactory in relation to the requirements than before the work was carried out.
Material change of use
Regulation 5 defines a ‘material change of use’ in which a building or part of a building that was previously used for one purpose will be used for another.
The Building Regulations set out requirements that must be met before a building can be used for a new purpose. To meet the requirements, the building may need to be upgraded in some way.
Materials and workmanship
In accordance with regulation 7, building work must be carried out in a workmanlike manner using adequate and proper materials. Guidance on materials and workmanship is given in Approved Document 7.
Energy efficiency requirements
Part 6 of the Building Regulations imposes additional specific requirements for energy efficiency.
If a building is extended or renovated, the energy efficiency of the existing building or part of it may need to be upgraded.
Notification of work
Most building work and material changes of use must be notified to a building control body unless one of the following applies.
a. It is work that will be self-certified by a registered competent person or certified by a registered third party.
b. It is work exempted from the need to notify by regulation 12(6A) of, or schedule 4 to, the Building Regulations.
Responsibility for compliance
People who are responsible for building work (for example the agent, designer, builder or installer) must ensure that the work complies with all applicable requirements of the Building Regulations. The building owner may also be responsible for ensuring
that work complies with the Building Regulations. If building work does not comply with the Building Regulations, the building owner may be served with an enforcement notice.