Building Regulations and Approved Documents

The primary legislation which introduces the Building Regulations in England and Wales is The Building Act 1984 (In Scotland, it is the Building (Scotland) Act 2003). This Act gives power to the Secretary of State to make detailed regulations. The regulations made under this Act are known as Building Regulations and are regularly amended, updated or consolidated.

The latest and current regulations are The Building Regulations 2010. The Building regulations are a national set of standards that seek to ensure the safety, health, welfare and convenience of people in and around buildings.

The Building Regulations cover all aspects of building work including foundations, damp proofing, the overall stability of the building, insulation, ventilation, heating, fire protection and means of escape in case of fire. They also ensure that adequate facilities for people with disabilities are provided in certain types of building. The Building Regulations will generally apply all building works including the construction of new buildings, extensions and alterations to existing buildings.

Approved Documents

The Building Regulations are supported by statutory Approved Documents which provide detailed practical guidance on ways to comply with the technical requirements stated in the regulations. Approved documents set out the typical approaches for compliance with technical requirements stated on each of the Parts of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations.

Approved Documents are listed below: 

  1. Part A – Structure
  2. Part B – Fire Safety
  3. Part C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
  4. Part D – Toxic Substances
  5. Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
  6. Part F – Ventilation
  7. Part G – Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency
  8. Part H – Drainage and Waste Disposal
  9. Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  10. Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact
  11. Part L – Conservation of fuel and power
  12. Part M – Access to and use of buildings
  13. Part N – Glazing Safety (Withdrawn)
  14. Part P – Electrical Safety
  15. Part Q – Security
  16. Part R – Physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks.
  17. Regulation 7 – Materials and workmanship

Each Approved Document contains:

  • general guidance on the expected performance of materials and building work in order to comply with the building regulations
  • practical examples and solutions on how to achieve compliance for some of the more common building situations

The guidance within the Approved Documents will be taken into account when the building control body is considering whether your plans of proposed building work, work in progress or completed works, comply with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations.

Approved documents are for guidance purposes only and they are not legally binding. So you are free to use other ways of complying with the requirements of the Building Regulations.


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