Last edited 05 Jan 2017

Approved Document K

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 (such as temporary buildings).
  • 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 K: protection from falling, collision and impact, was last published in 2013.

It sets standards for the design of stairways, ramps and ladders, together with requirements for balustrading, windows, and vehicle barriers to prevent falling. It also includes requirements for guarding against, and warning of, hazards from the use and position of doors and windows.

The content of the Approved Document includes:

  • Section 1: Stairs and ladders – Contains guidance on steepness, construction, headroom, landings, handrails, guarding, and so on.
  • Section 2: Ramps – Contains guidance on construction, obstruction, handrails, landings, guarding, and so on.
  • Section 3: Protection from falling – Contains guidance on siting of pedestrian guarding, design, and guarding of areas used for maintenance.
  • Section 4: Vehicle barriers and loading bays.
  • Section 5: Protection against impact with glazing: Contains guidance on glazing in critical locations, safe breakage, robustness, glazing in small panes, permanent screen protection, and so on.
  • Section 6: Protection from collision with open windows, etc. – Contains guidance on projecting parts, spaces used only for maintenance, and so on.
  • Section 7: Manifestation of glazing – Contains guidance on critical locations, permanent methods to indicate glazing and alternative methods.
  • Section 8: Safe opening and closing of windows, etc. – Contains guidance on location of controls, prevention of falls, and so on.
  • Section 9: Safe access for cleaning windows, etc.
  • Section 10: Protection against impact from and trapping by doors – Contains guidance on safety features and hazards on access routes.

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