- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 11 May 2018
The 'approved documents' provide guidance for how the building regulations can be satisfied in common building situations. They are given legal status by the Building Act 1984. There is no obligation to adopt the solutions presented in the approved documents. The building regulations can be satisfied in other ways.
In England, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is responsible for the Building Regulations 2010 and The Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010. The regulations apply to most new buildings and many alterations to existing buildings.
 The approved documents
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 stipulates 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.
See Approved Document A for more information.
 B: Fire safety
Covers all precautionary measures necessary to provide safety from fires for building occupants, persons in the vicinity of buildings, and firefighters. Requirements and guidance covers means of escape in case of fire, fire detection and warning systems, the fire resistance of structural elements, fire separation, protection, compartmentation and isolation to prevent fire spread, control of flammable materials, and access and facilities for firefighting.
See Approved Document B for more information.
Includes the weather-tightness and water-tightness of buildings, subsoil drainage, site preparation, and measures to deal with contaminated land, radon, methane, and all other site related hazardous and dangerous substances.
See Approved Document C for more information.
 D: Toxic substances
See Approved Document D for more information.
Deals with requirements for sound insulation between buildings, including both new dwellings and the conversion of buildings to form dwellings. These cover sound reduction between rooms for residential purposes and designated rooms in dwellings, and acoustic conditions for common areas in flats and schools.
See Approved Document E for more information.
 F: Ventilation
See Approved Document F for more information.
See Approved Document G for more information.
Provides guidance on adequate drainage, and also deals with pollution prevention and sewage infrastructure and maintenance. Technical design standards cover sanitary pipework, foul drainage, rainwater drainage and disposal, wastewater treatment, and discharges and cesspools.
See Approved Document H for more information.
 J: Heat producing appliances and Fuel storage system
Covers the construction, installation and use of boilers, chimneys, flues, hearths and fuel storage installations. Also requirements to control fire sources and prevent burning, pollution, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.
See Approved Document J for more information.
 K: Protection from falling, collision and impact
Set standards for the safety of stairways, ramps and ladders, together with requirements for balustrading, windows, and vehicle barriers to prevent falling. Also include are requirements for guarding against and warning of, hazards from the use and position of doors and windows.
See Approved Document K for more information.
 L: Conservation of fuel and power
Controls the insulation values of buildings elements, the allowable area of windows, doors and other opening, the air permeability of the structure, the heating efficiency of boilers, hot water storage and lighting. It also controls mechanical ventilation and air conditioning systems, space heating controls, airtightness testing of larger buildings, solar emission, the certification, testing and commissioning of heating and ventilation systems, and requirements for energy meters. It also sets requirements for Carbon Index ratings.
See Approved Document L for more information.
See Approved Document M for more information.
(Withdrawn on 6 April 2013 other than in Wales where it still applies).
Lays down the requirements for the use of safety glazing to avoid impact hazard and for the suitable awareness and definition of glazed areas. Also included are safety requirements relating to the use and cleaning of windows.
Covers the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations in order to prevent injuries from electrical shocks and burns, and to prevent injuries arising from fires due to electrical components overheating or arcing.
See Approved Document P for more information.
From 1 October 2015 for use in England, it provides that reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling; and any part of a building from which access can be gained to a flat within the building.
See Approved Document Q for more information.
 R: High speed electronic communications networks
See Approved Document R for more information.
 7: Materials and workmanship
See Approved Document 7 for more information.
NB: On 28 July 2017, following the Grenfell Tower fire, Communities Secretary The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP announced an independent review of the building regulations and fire safety. See: Independent review of the building regulations and fire safety for more information.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Approved document 7.
- Approved document A.
- Approved document B.
- Approved document C.
- Approved document D.
- Approved document E.
- Approved document F.
- Approved document G.
- Approved document H.
- Approved document J.
- Approved document K.
- Approved document L.
- Approved document M.
- Approved document Q.
- Approved document P.
- Approved document R.
- Approved inspector.
- Building control bodies.
- Building control performance standards.
- Building Regulations.
- Competent person schemes.
- Construction Products Regulations.
- Energy certificates.
- Housing standards review.
- Northern Ireland building regulations.
- Planning permission.
- Scottish building standards.
- Statutory approvals.
- Statutory authorities.
- The Building Act.
- Welsh building regulations.
 External references
Featured articles and news
When is there a right to light, and what happens if it is obstructed?
What would the nationalisation of economic infrastructure mean for GB?
A new guide to improving value by reducing design error.
We've reached 80,000 page views a day and 10,000 registered users. Why not join them?
A masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Read our introductory article.
New consultation announced on a specialist Housing Court to settle landlord-tenant disputes.
ICE responds to a transport consultation advising the government to make decisions enabling more inclusive cities.
BRE and Loughborough University complete first phase refurbishment of demonstration home.
How the risk of collapse of fibrous plaster ceilings is being addressed in theatres.
If you’re a great writer and have practical experience of the construction industry, it could be you.
Frustrated by long documents or technical jargon? Put off by sign-up forms or costs? Take this 5 min survey to help improve construction knowledge.