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A Guide to Building Regulations - Part B
A Guide to Building Regulations - Part B
A Guide to Building Regulations - Part L
A Guide to Building Regulations - Part L
A Guide to Building Regulations - Part M
A Guide to Building Regulations - Part M

Summary of the Building Regulations

In the process of development, whether it is the erection of a new building, extending or altering an existing building, or changing the way a building is used, you will normally need to seek Building Regulation approval and possibly Planning approval. Planning approval establishes that the building or proposed use of land is acceptable in principal. Building Regulations specifically relate to the technical aspects of construction and cover such matters as structural stability, fire resistance, means of escape, disabled access, weather resistance, thermal insulation, drainage etc. etc. Building Control is the part of Environmental Services which ensures that buildings are constructed and altered so that they comply with the Building Regulations, that dangerous structures are made safe and that demolitions are done in as safe a manner as possible.

The purpose of the regulations is to protect the health and safety of people in or around buildings. They also deal with conserving energy and with access and facilities for disabled people. Building Control Surveyors manage the Building Regulations.  Building Control Surveyors have a wide knowledge of materials and building methods, and will assist at all stages throughout the building process.

Guide to the Building Regulations Part B (Fire safety)

•   Requires safe means of escape from the building.
•   Requires the stability of a building to be maintained in a fire, both internally and externally.
•   Internally, the wall lining, that is plaster, plasterboard or wooden boards on the walls and ceiling will resist the spread of flames and give off reasonable levels of heat, if on fire.
•   Internal stability will be maintained during fire and fire spread will be prohibited.
•   Fire and smoke will be prohibited from spreading to concealed spaces in a buildings structure.
•   Externally - The external walls and roof will resist spread of fire to walls and roofs of other buildings.
•   The building will be easily accessible for fire fighters and their equipment.

If you’re planning on building a new property or extending, converting or refurbishing an existing one, you’ll need to make sure it’s fire safe.

The Building Regulations part B are designed to try and prevent the spread of fire, enable occupants to escape easily and fire crews to put out the fire as quickly as possible. As with all building regulations, by law you must comply with fire safety regulations 2010 when building a new property or significantly altering an existing one.

B1 – Means of Warning and Escape

Buildings should be constructed so that occupants are able to easily escape if a fire breaks out. This means there should be more than one escape route in case the first is blocked; you’ll need to look at the positioning of doors, stairs and windows for this. B1 also stipulates that there should be an alarm system in place to provide early warning of a fire.  Further details can be found within Approved document B, or the Eurocell Profiles specification guide.

B2 – Internal Fire Spread – Linings

This section is designed to slow down and prevent the spread of fire by choosing construction linings that don’t burn easily. A lining refers to the materials or products used to line parts of a building such as the walls or ceilings.

B3 – Internal Fire Spread – Structure

This covers the walls and structure of a building. These must be constructed to resist fire for a certain length of time, which is determined by the building type. This means that fire breaks should be built into cavities such as wall and loft spaces, especially in walls which connect two or more buildings.

The requirement for cavity closers

Cavity walls provide a continuous hidden path around the building, potentially spreading fire from one part of the structure to another without being detected.  Walls often form, or shroud, the critical structure of building. A fire established within this structure could lead to severe damage to the structural integrity of the whole building, leading to collapse.

Cavity barriers prevent the spread of fire by interrupting the cavity with a fire resistant material. Part B of the Building Regulations (for both residential construction and non-dwellings) requires the use of cavity fire barriers around openings in all timber or steel frame cavity walls and in masonry walls where a particular risk has been identified by the building inspector. A cavity fire barrier must span the cavity and be securely fixed. It must also pass a fire test proving its capability to maintain integrity in an intense fire and restrict heat being conducted from the fire to other parts of the structure.  Cavalok is a leading cavity closure specialist in the UK, and is part of the Eurocell group.  Cavalok offers a range of solutions which both meet and exceed building regulations.

B4 – External Fire Spread

Roofs and external walls should be constructed so as to prevent the spread of fire to other buildings. This means making sure to use materials which won’t allow the outside of the building to burn and reducing the amount of radiated heat produced by lining window areas.

B5 – Access and Facilities for the Fire Service

This section involves making sure that, in the event of a fire, the fire brigade are able to access the building as easily as possible to extinguish the blaze. This means having sufficient access and space for fire services to get inside the building and operate their equipment, as well as making sure there’s access to the outside of the building so they can fight a fire externally.
For more detailed information on fire safety building regulations, you can download the Building Regulations Approved Document B for free from the government’s planning portal website.
Sources: Approved Document B, Planning Portal

Eurocell Profiles Fire rating

Foam profiles

Tested to BS476 Part 7:1997 Class 1 surface spread of fire.  Woodgrain profiles do not carry a fire rating.

Rigid profiles

Tested to BS476 Part7:1997 Class 1 surface spread of fire.

Guide to the Building Regulations Part L (Conservation of fuel and power)

The building and services contained within the premises must promote the conservation of fuel and power, whilst reducing the amount of CO2 produced, whilst the fabric of the building must contain insulation to limit heat loss, heating appliances, associated equipment and lighting systems must prevent wasted energy use, whilst pipes and storage vessels are insulated to reduce the waste of energy.  

Part L refers to the requirements with regards to conservation of fuel and power.  Since the inception of these regulations in 1984, quite a lot has changed, so this guide to Part L of the building regulations will take you through the main changes builders must now adhere to in order to be in accordance with part L regulations.   As with most government documents, the new UK Building Regulations Part L is made up of around 600 pages of information, but the main changes can be boiled down to two rather simple points:

The method of measurement has shifted from elemental U-values to actual CO2 emissions
All domestic buildings need to show a 25% improvement on CO2 emissions over the 2006 standard.

The 25% improvement in Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) is part of the plans to reach zero carbon houses by 2016. In order to reach this target, certain measures need to be put into place to ensure properties are built in a more CO2 friendly way. This means a shift in the design stage towards more information, detail and calculations, as well as handing over more powers to Building Control Officers. Without these building regulations the chances of us meeting the 2016 goal would be very unlikely.

How do I meet Part L of the building regulations?

The main requirement is to reduce the DER by a minimum of 25%. You can see the planning portal website for more details on what that means for you.

Using the building regulations insulation as an example; The cavity wall construction building regulations now state that simply insulating and sealing them does not count towards the 25% reduction target. This means that other measures must be used in addition to simply insulating and sealing cavity walls. For example, typical cavity block wall with 70mm insulations batts and a 50mm cavity will now need at least 90mm batts.  Our Cavalok cavity closers feature a pre-installed core of polystyrene insulation, providing enhanced thermal efficiency for compliance with Part L Building Regulations. The integral insulation also saves time on site because no additional insulation has to be fitted.

Building regulations roof insulations now needs to be a U-value of 0.15.  For further information, visit the government’s planning portal website.

What about renewable energy?

Part L of the building regulations encourages the use of renewable energy; however it is worth checking out what you install. For example heat pumps are no longer considered an environmentally friendly option and the CO2 emissions have skyrocketed by 40%, meaning they could potentially have a negative impact on the DER.

Easy ways to reach the 25% improvement could include adding a solar PV system, as it would be contributing to the electricity demand which goes a long way. Another option could be installing a biomass boiler, which has a net zero CO2 emissions.

U-values v WERs?

• Both methods of compliance with Building Regulations.
• U-values appropriate for New Build – consistent unit of measurement.
• WERs better for replacement – easier for consumers to understand.

Eurocell helping you achieve Part L

All of our window systems comply with Part L of the Building Regulations.  The performance of our window systems can be improved greatly by using very low-emissivity glazing, gas filled units, warm edge spacer bars and other enhancements to satisfy the most stringent requirements.  At Eurocell we have BFRC-certified simulators who are fully qualified to calculate U-Values and WER’s and give advice on requirements for compliance. Please contact our technical department for more information and support.

Standard for controlled fittings

Fitting                               Standard
Replacement Windows    WER Band C or better or, U-value 1.6 W/m₂.K  or lower
New Build Windows         Dictated by SAP calculations – U-value of
2.0 W/m₂.K  or lower

Replacement Doors         U-value of 1.8 W/m₂.K  or lower

New Build Doors              Dictated by SAP calculations – U-value of 2.0W/m2K or lower

Building Standards Section 6 Domestic - Energy in Scotland

Sources: Approved Document L, Planning Portal

Guide to the Building Regulations Part M (Access to and use of buildings)

In Part M, 'people with disabilities' means people who have an impairment which limits their ability to walk or which requires them to use a wheelchair for mobility or have impaired hearing or sight.

Reasonable provision shall be made for people with disabilities at entrances to and within new dwellings and buildings.

Part M Building Regulations UK

According to the government document, the remaining sections of the Part M of the building regulations determine that you or your chosen contractor (whoever is listed as in charge of overall construction of the said property) is also obliged…

M2 – To provide suitable independent access to a building (including disabled access).

M3 – To provide sanitary conveniences in extensions to the building other than the ordinary dwelling (although this doesn’t apply if reasonable provisions are being made elsewhere in the building so that those already in the extension have ease of access).

M4 – To provide sanitary conveniences in dwellings at the entrance storey or elsewhere in the principal building (the entrance meaning that principal means of entering the building to the nearest habitable – or most used – room).

So how can you make sure you adhere to Part M in the initial planning phases? Well, you should make sure that the property…

•   Has level paving on entry, as well as all the appropriate ramps, steps and handrails installed for easy disabled access.
•   Includes adequate parking (including for disabled peoples) and the appropriate corresponding signage.
•   Has in-built accessible doors that comply with the appropriate height and width requirements, as well as alternative routes of entry for disabled access if the primary door is inaccessible (i.e. as with a revolving door).
•   Contains the appropriate toilet facilities on all floors.
•   Includes smoke detectors, fire alarms and appropriate safety signage and fire exit points.
•   Controls the spread of draughts and includes transitional lighting upon entry to reduce glare.
•   Includes slip-resistant flooring on entry and elsewhere in the building where the property is used for non-sporting activities.
•   Provides suitable emergency communications appliances in the event of a security or emergency event.

Part M of building regulations in the UK doesn’t apply if you are merely altering an existing dwelling (even via an attached extension), or in parts of any building or extension that are used solely to enable the repair, maintenance and inspection of the property in question (such as a cleaning cupboard or cellar). If you want to read further about the building regulations Part M, or prefer to find out the exact details relating to your particular building, you can download the entire document from the government’s planning portal website.

Eurocell helping you achieve Part M

Eurocell offers an extensive range of low threshold door options with our In-Line Patio Doors, Aspect Bi-Fold Doors, French Doors as well as the Dales Collection of composite doors which have all have fully Part-M compliant options.  

All Eurocell low thresholds provide easy access for the elderly and infirm as well as helping building designers comply with Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements. Eurocell low thresholds are available with single and double ramps, which offer unimpeded, easy access for wheelchair users, prams, walking frames and mobility scooters.

As well as external applications, low thresholds can be used as part of internal room divider applications, where a bi-fold, or patio door is specified.

Sources: Approved Document M, Planning Portal

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