Last edited 05 Jan 2017

Approved Document A

The first set of national building standards was introduced in 1965. Now known as the building regulations, they set out:

  • What qualifies as 'building work' and so fall under the control of the regulations.
  • What types of buildings are exempt.
  • The notification procedures that must be followed when starting, carrying out, and completing building work.
  • Requirements for specific aspects of building design and construction.

The 'approved documents' provide guidance for how the building regulations can be satisfied in common building situations. There is no obligation to adopt the solutions presented in the approved documents, the building regulations can be satisfied in other ways.

Approved Document A: Structure, was last published in 2013.

It requires buildings to be designed, constructed or altered so as to be structurally safe and robust, and so as not to impair the structural stability of other buildings. It deals with the requirements that buildings should be able to withstand dead loads, imposed loads and wind loads, as well as ground movement such as swelling, shrinkage or freezing of the subsoil, or land-slip or subsidence.

It stipulates the design standards for use on all buildings and gives simple design rules for most masonry and timber elements for traditional domestic buildings. It includes diagrams of structures such as roof frames and brick walls, and tables of material strengths.

The content of the Approved Document includes:

  • Section 1: Codes, standards and references for all building types.
  • Section 2: Sizes of structural elements for certain residential buildings and other small buildings of traditional construction – This includes basic requirements for stability, sizes of certain timber members, thickness of walls in certain small buildings, proportions for masonry chimneys above the roof structure, and foundations of plain concrete.
  • Section 3: Wall cladding – This includes guidance on technical approach, loading and fixings.
  • Section 4: Roof covering – This includes guidance on materials and re-covering of roofs.
  • Section 5: Reducing the sensitivity of the building to disproportionate collapse in the event of an accident – This includes an alternative approach and seismic design.
  • Standards referred to.

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