Technical Information & Guidance

“We have been completely happy with the service provided and would happily use Act again, in fact, we may well be in touch some time soon!”

– Residential Homeowner, Mr Tomlinson

This section provides simplified technical information for all our surveying services, with regards to how the regulations should be interpreted and used, including access to current documents.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us here or call us on 0845 077 9559.

Technical Guidance

Technical guidance used as part of the Building Regulations approval process include Approved Documents, British Standards and other technical information that are essential to the building control process.  Technical guidance is used by building control surveyors to determine if a design or constructed building meets the minimum requirements.  These requirements and guidance often contain no precise explanation of what will be acceptable to building control surveyors for bespoke designs or building works and as such an informed determination must be made.

To assist our building control surveyors in making determinations on compliance with Building Regulations we have daily discussions and hold regular technical meetings.  At these times we consider matters that are open to interpretation and provide our own internal guidance to allow our surveyors to make an informed and professional decision.  We believe that some of this internal guidance will be useful for all building consultants and contractors and have included a list of matters recently been discussed together with a summary and brief conclusion;

Part A – PileTesting Requirements – Consider the need for load and integrity testing. This would be to suit the quality of site investigation, site ground conditions, factor of safety used, number of piles, type of piles, etc.  Testing should be considered as part of the approval process with the specialist design engineer and number and type of tests included in the design stage approval.

Part B – Loft Conversions – Consider if existing doors enclosing the protected stair could be retained.  Subject to individual assessment on site to determine door structure quality and fit some doors may be retained that did not provide the required fire resistance, provided that suitable additional fire detecton or suppression was installed as part of a fire engineered type design.  Any variations to guidance to be clearly stated by designer and any accepted to be included in the design stage approval.

Part B – Loft Conversions – Consider if open plan stairs would be acceptable.  Subject to individual assessment as part of a fire engineered type design open plan stairs may be accepted.  General principles may need to include the provision of sprinklers, additional fire detection, escape windows, etc.  The designer must provide a fire engineered design that confirms how any variations to arroved document guidance would not result in lower life safety standards.

Part B – Travel Distances – Consider if means of escape travel distances could be extended.  Travel distances in approved document B can be extended subject to individual assessment and consideration of fire risk, building type, level of detection, suppression and management, etc as BS9999 or fire engineered design.  If extended travel distances are approved the reasons for this should be clearly stated in the design proposal and fire authority consultation.

Part C – Site Investigation Requirements –  Consider the need for different types of site and contamination investigation for new buildings and extensions.  All new buildings need some form of site investigation that should be the subject of risk assessment by the designers.  The most simple would be desk study only and/or a limited number of trial pits (suitable for works proposed) with appropriate contamination testing.  Unless the building is on a site with known ground conditions and a low risk of contamination presence (indicated from desk study) site investigation with contamination testing should be required.

Part K – Stair and Guarding Climbability / 100mm Sphere Rule – Consider the need for stairs and guarding to be non-climbable where a building may be used by children under 5 years of age.  This requirement applies to internal and external parts of all dwellings and other buildings that may have unsupervised young children (assembly buildings, some retail premises, leisure centres, nurserys, etc).  There are no determinations that relax this important safety requirement.

Part L – Use of Multi Foil Type Insulation Products – Consider if acceptable to use with or without additional insulation products.  All multi foil products that have BBA certification / other Regulation 7 certification and confirm U values are acheived in accordance with government test criteria will be acceptable.  Subject to individual assessment and in limited situations (such as loft conversions or limited headroom applications) it is possible for multi foil products to be used with or without a lower level of additional insulation.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us here or call us on 0845 077 9559.