Tag: building regulations

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Recent Changes in UK Building Regulations: What You Need to Know

The field of construction in the United Kingdom is constantly evolving. Driven by advancements in technology, changes in societal needs, and a growing emphasis on sustainability. One crucial aspect that governs the construction industry is building regulations. These regulations set the standards for design, construction, and alterations to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of building occupants and the general public. In this blog, we will explore the recent changes in UK building regulations and how they might impact construction projects.

Energy Efficiency Standards

Firstly, one of the significant shifts in recent building regulations is the increased focus on energy efficiency. With the UK’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the government has introduced measures to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. The Future Homes Standard, announced in 2019, outlines the government’s plan to implement higher energy efficiency standards for new homes. This includes the gradual phasing out of gas boilers in favor of more sustainable heating solutions. And a greater emphasis on renewable energy sources.

Implications for Construction Projects: Construction professionals will need to adopt innovative and sustainable building practices, incorporating energy-efficient technologies to meet the new standards. This may involve changes in heating systems, insulation methods, and the integration of renewable energy sources such as solar panels.

Fire Safety Regulations

In the wake of tragic incidents like the Grenfell Tower fire, the UK government has been working to enhance fire safety regulations. The Building Safety Bill, introduced in 2021, aims to address shortcomings in the existing system and establish a more robust regulatory framework. In addition, the bill proposes the creation of a Building Safety Regulator to oversee the entire life cycle of high-rise residential buildings.

Implications for Construction Projects: Construction projects, particularly those involving high-rise residential buildings, will be subject to more stringent fire safety requirements. This may include the use of non-combustible materials, improved fire-resistant designs, and enhanced evacuation measures.

Digital Construction and Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Advancements in technology have prompted a shift towards digital construction and Building Information Modeling (BIM). The UK government has recognized the potential benefits of digitalization in the construction industry and encourages its widespread adoption. Furthermore, BIM allows for more accurate and collaborative planning, design, and construction processes, leading to improved efficiency and reduced costs.

Implications for Construction Projects: Construction professionals need to embrace digital tools and BIM methodologies to stay compliant with evolving regulations. The integration of digital technologies can streamline project management, enhance communication between stakeholders, and facilitate the creation of comprehensive digital models for better project visualization and analysis.

Sustainability and Circular Economy

Finally, the construction industry is increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability and the circular economy. The government’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions has influenced building regulations to promote environmentally friendly practices. This includes a focus on materials with a lower environmental impact. While also reducing waste generation, and increased use of recycled and locally sourced materials.

Implications for Construction Projects: Construction projects will need to adopt sustainable practices, from sourcing materials to waste management. This may involve implementing circular economy principles. Such as, recycling and reusing materials, and exploring alternative construction methods with lower environmental footprints.


Staying abreast of the latest changes in UK building regulations is crucial for construction professionals to ensure compliance and deliver safe and sustainable projects. The recent emphasis on energy efficiency, fire safety, digital construction, and sustainability reflects a broader commitment to creating a built environment that aligns with the evolving needs of society and the planet. As the construction industry continues to adapt to these changes, it opens up opportunities for innovation and the creation of more resilient and environmentally friendly buildings.

Picture: Hiran Perera

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House Renovation

The ultimate beginners guide to removing a chimney breast  

What is a chimney breast?  

Firstly, a chimney breast is a portion of a chimney which projects forward from a wall to accommodate a fireplace. It is typically made of concrete or brickwork and is an integral part of the fireplace system if it serves to house the flue.  

Why would you want to remove your Chimney breast?  

For some, a chimney breast is seen as something that takes up valuable space that could be used for something else. However, some people love the idea of an open fireplace which is also the most inefficient way to burn fuel at home. Some may have the chimney piece removed for an eco-friendlier way of heating. 

Is it worth taking out a chimney breast?  

For older homes, chimney breasts are often classed as a desirable feature. They can offer a traditional and cosy feel that may attract homebuyers. Therefore, in an older home if you remove your chimney it may result in the value decreasing. However, if you are looking to make your home modern it may be best to remove the chimney.  

Removing the Chimney, the correct way –  

In truth, this is not a quick DIY job. When removing the chimney piece, you are also removing an important load-bearing wall. Due to this, you need to ensure that the structural integrity of your building isn’t put at risk.   

One of the most common internal altercations carried out is to remove an obsolete chimney breast at ground floor level to create more floor space. However, commonly chimneys are also removed at first-floor level leaving the roof bare and the external section of the chimney in place.   

Building regulations apply to this work because it is material altercation to the structure ensuring the remaining part of the stack is properly supported 

How much does it cost to remove a chimney breast?  

The cost of the removal will mainly be dictated by the structural report. It is recommended to budget at least £5000 for this project.  

Here’s some estimates for removing a chimney breast depending on the property: 

  • Ground or first floor chimney breast only: £1,400-2,400 plus VAT 
  • External stack: £1,000-2,000 plus VAT 
  • Full chimney in a two-storey property: £2,800–3,800 plus VAT 

Building regulations – 

You will need to make sure the structural works comply with the building regulations. You can resolve this issue by notifying your local authority and being assigned building control.  

Party wall act –  

If the chimney you are looking to remove is on a shared wall with your neighbour you will most likely have duties and obligations under the party wall act 1996.  

Gas –  

Finally, remember that any work involving the alteration of a gas appliance or its components has to be undertaken by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. After completing the works, a certificate, in accordance with the self-certification scheme, should be issued to the property owner. 

Building Control

All you need to know about building regulations

No matter your project, most construction work will require building regulations approval at some point. Here’s what you need to know about building regs in 2022.  

What are building regulations?  

Building regulations are a set of rules that are designed to ensure that new buildings, renovation work, extensions and conversions are carried out to ensure a safe, energy efficient, and healthy home environment. In addition, there are regulations relating to each specific area of construction. 

Your project will have to comply with these areas –  

You will need to appoint a building inspector; they will ensure that your projects meet the regulations.  

You may need building regulations approval for alteration projects. Here’s some examples:  

  • replace fuse boxes and connected electrics 
  • install a bathroom that will involve plumbing 
  • change electrics near a bath or shower 
  • put in a fixed air-conditioning system 
  • replace windows and doors 
  • replace roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs 
  • install or replace a heating system 
  • add extra radiators to a heating system 

The different types of building regulations applications –  

Building notice –  

A building notice is basically promising in advance that you will comply with the building regulations on site.  A building notice can only be used for domestic work and is only advisable for smaller works such as underpinning, internal alterations or re-roofing and does not require the submission of plans with the notice. 

Full plans –  

So, for most construction projects a Full Plans application is made to building control. With full Plans application, you will know from the start that the drawings have been checked and approved by the building inspector and that the plans fully comply with all of the Building Regulations. 

The application is made up of:  

  • A full description of the proposed works  
  • A set of technical drawings 
  • Structural engineer’s calculations  
  • A location or ‘block’ plan   

What happens if you fail to comply?  

If you fail to notify building control about your project, or the council finds out it isn’t up to standard, it has the power to order you to take it down or alter the work. Furthermore, serious cases can result in prosecution. If you are convicted, you could face a fine of up to £5,000 for each offence plus £50 for each day the work remains uncorrected. The local authority can also make you pay for the faulty work to be fixed. 

Also, if your project doesn’t comply it can become unsafe or cause major health issues, injury or death.  


Side extensions: planning, cost and building regulations 

Many houses have a limited outdoor area. If you have extra land at the side of your property, and you are looking to add more space to your home, it’s worth considering a side extension. This is a great way to extend your kitchen or living area, without eating into your garden.  

Do you need planning permission for a side extension? 

Most side extensions are built without planning permission and under permitted development. There are rules you must follow to for your project to be under permitted development. For example: 

  • Must be single storey 
  • Cannot exceed 4m  
  • The width cannot exceed more than half of the original house.  
  • The materials used must match the exterior of the existing house.  
  • If the extension is within two metres of a boundary (which a side return extension usually is) maximum eaves height cannot exceed 3m. 

How much would it cost? 

An average side extension design can cost anywhere between £20,000 – £50,000. However, this depends on the size, finish and where you live. Also, internal work such as adding a kitchen or glazed doors will affect the final price. 

The benefits of a side extension –  

  • Adds value if done correctly. If you are just looking to do a single storey, the value can increase by 10%.  
  • Helps you maximise space at the side of your house. 
  • You won’t be losing any land at the rear of your property.  
  • Adds additional space to your home 

Building regulations –  

Finally, your project will need to comply with building regulations which cover everything from structural stability of the walls to fire safety, electrics, and drainage. These rules and regulations ensure that your extension meets national minimum standards of safety and workmanship. The approval of your local authority building control department is always required whether you require planning permission or not. 

Image: @house_of_capes
Flat Conversions

What you need to know about converting a house into flats 

We all know that there aren’t enough homes in the UK for its growing population. So, converting a house into two or more flats is becoming increasingly popular. More homeowners are now realising that splitting their property into units helps them increase rental income and increase property value. 

Here is a guide on turning your house into flats –  

Firstly, do your research –  

An essential part of the process is researching the area ore looking to convert in and what the rental market looks like.  

Some of the things you need to look for is –  

  • If there are flats in demand in the area 
  • If your area is close to or within a busy commuter area 
  • And what the average rental income for similar properties in the area are.  

You should research thoroughly and compile as much information as possible before you decide to make the jump.  

Planning permission –  

If a house has to be divided into multiple plats, it will be required to acquire planning permission. The local authority will be able to decide the size of each flat, how many rooms there will be and if you will be able to go ahead with the conversion.   

If you haven’t yet purchased the house you intend to convert into flats, you should check with the local planning department before investing. Additionally, there may be certain requirements for you to consider. These can vary from; minimum flat size, soundproofing between the neighbouring flats, insulation for energy efficiency and comfort, fire safety, and potentially more. Parking availability may also play a role. 

Building regulations –  

When a property is converted, it is required to get approval under the Building Regulations. It is required under the Housing Act 2004 for sub-divided buildings to meet standards. Also. There are likely to be health and safety laws to adhere to, such as providing fire escapes, fire alarms, separate electricity supplies, and so on.   

Flats conversion costs –  

In addition the cost of converting a house into flats depends on the property. Factors that can influence the cost are: 

  • Size of the property  
  • Condition of the house 
  • Number of flats to be converted to 

Obviously, the cost varies enormously, depending on the area you choose to buy in, the style of property that you purchase, and the sort of conversion you want to carry out. So, as a ballpark figure, expect to pay around £25,000 for a basic conversion. 

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Adding a two-storey extension to your home

A two-storey extension can be a great way to upgrade your home. It is also one of the more efficient ways to add more space and to increase the property value. While a double-storey extension may seem like a much larger project to undertake than a single storey one. They’re often budget efficient and are a lot cheaper than moving house. 

How big can you build a two-storey extension without planning permission?  

Firstly, the eaves and pitch heights must be no higher than those of the existing house. However, if the building is within two meters of a boundary, the overall maximum eaves height is restricted to 3m. The pitch should match the existing house as much as is practical. 

Under permitted development, you can extend up to three meters from the original house. But it must be more than seven meters from the rear boundary. Any extension to the original house should not exceed more than 50% of the total land around the house.  

How much does a double-storey extension cost?  

The cost of an extension can vary from one place to another in the UK. The cost of labour is different from one city to another. Furthermore, the material you choose has a significant effect on the overall cost of the project. If you go with standard quality material then a double-storey will be around £1,500 per square meter. While a good quality design will cost you around £1,700 per square meter. 

The typical cost of building a two-storey extension starts at around £40,000. But this will increase if you are planning to use some of the space like a kitchen or bathroom. So, with all the finishes included you can expect to be paying around £102,500 to £124,000. 

Will you need building regulations approval to build a two-storey extension?  

Regardless of the size of the extension, you will need building regulation’s approval. You will need a full set of building regulations drawings, structural calculations, and specifications to submit your building control application.  

Image: https://blog.bdsarchitecture.co.uk

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Garage Conversion

Garage conversion 2022: all you should know before you start

Firstly, a garage conversion is one of the quickest and most affordable routes to adding floor space. These types of projects can often be completed in a little over a week. In addition, many people often just use their garages as a place to put their cars or as a storage room. However, maybe it’s a great time to consider converting your garage and making it into a valuable asset.  

Is your garage suitable for a conversion?  

A garage conversion is classed as a change of use, so it will require building regulations approval.  

To comply with building regs your garage conversion must:  

  • Be structurally sound 
  • Have a damp proof course 
  • Have all of the electrics tested 
  • Be moisture proofed, with good ventilation 
  • Have been fire proofed and have escape routes 
  • Have wall, floor, and loft insulation so that its energy efficient 

Will you need planning permission to convert your garage?  

Most garage conversions will usually fall under permitted development, meaning that planning permission is not required. However, it is still best to check with your local authority, because there is a small percentage that will require planning permission.  

If your home is listed or in a conservation area, then it is very likely that you will need planning permission before you can convert your garage.  

Insulating the garage conversion – 

It is important that the new room is warm and energy-efficient. In order to comply with building regs, you will need insulation.  

In addition, the simplest way to add insulation to the walls is with insulated plasterboard fitted to timber battens above the damp-proof course.  

How much will it cost?  

A garage conversion is a relatively low-cost way of increasing your living space. This is because you don’t need to pay for laying new foundations or building new walls and you also may have power.  

For a single garage conversion, you should budget around £20,000 – £30,000 with some variation due to your choice of materials and fittings.  

It is also worth mentioning that a construction material shortage is causing a spike in many building materials.  

Factors that could affect the cost of your garage conversion –  

  • Planning applications 
  • If you use an architect or designer 
  • Whether you need to use a structural engineer 
  • Whether the foundations need to be reinforced 
  • If the ceiling height needs to be raised. You need around 2.2-2.4m of headroom. 
  • If the walls, floors, or roof need to be repaired. It may be cheaper to demolish your garage and start again.  

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