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CENTRAL HEATING BOILERS

Replacing a boiler requires building regulation approval.

The new standards apply only if you decide to change your existing hot-water central-heating boiler or if you decide to change to one of these boilers from another form of heating system.

Work to install a new boiler (or a cooker that also supplies central heating – Aga, Raeburn etc) needs Building Regulations approval because of the safety issues and the need for energy efficiency. This is generally achieved by employing an installer who is registered under an approved scheme.

-          Gas Boiler – An installer should be Gas Safe Registered from 1 April 2009

-          Oil fired Boiler – An installer should be registered with one of the relevant Competent Person Schemes

-          Solid fuel fired boiler – An installer should be registered with one of the relevant Competent Person Schemes

WINDOWS AND DOORS

Replacing glazing/window and doors requires building regulation approval

Replacing windows and doors now needs to meet certain standards in the Building Regulations to reduce energy loss. This means that you need to comply with the Building Regulations when installing replacement windows, doors, or rooflights in both domestic and non-domestic buildings. The Building Regulations have controlled glazing in new buildings for many years but it is now a requirement to improve the performance of existing buildings so as to achieve national energy saving targets.

When selling property, surveyors will ask for evidence that replacement glazing installed after April 2002 complies with the new Building Regulations. There are two ways to prove compliance:-

1. a certificate showing that the work has been done by an installer who is registered under the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme by Fensa Ltd, or a Person registered by BM Trada Certification Limited, the British Standards Institution or CERTASS Limited or Network VEKA Limited.

or

2. a certificate from the local authority saying that the installation has approval under the Building Regulations.

DIY projects or installations by non-registered firms need Council approval under the Building Regulations and ultimately this may be your responsibility. Therefore be sure to ask whether an installer is able to self-certify. If not, either they, or you, will need to make an application to the Council for approval under the Building Regulations and pay the current Building Regulation charge payment.

THE PARTY WALL ETC ACT 1996

You must tell your neighbours if you want to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’, in England and Wales.

Party walls are those that stand on the land of 2 or more owners and either:

  • form part of a building
  • don’t form part of a building, such as a garden wall (not wooden fences)

A party wall is also a wall that is on 1 owner’s land but is used by 2 or more owners to separate their buildings.

You can also have a ‘party structure’. This could be a floor or other structure that separates buildings or parts of buildings with different owners, eg flats.

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE (EPC)

The law says that if you want to put your property on the market you must either have an energy performance certificate ((epc) (often called an “epc certificate”)) in place or you must have ordered one.

If you’ve ordered one you’re allowed to market your property for up to 7 days before receiving it. Since it only takes a few days to get an EPC done this should be plenty of time.

ELECTRICAL WORKS

Electrical works within the home may require building regulation approval.

If you are carrying out electrical work in your home or garden in England and Wales, you will have to follow new rules in the Building Regulations.

You should use an installer who is registered with a competent person scheme to seek approval from a Building Control body. This is true for most work. However, you do not need to tell them about repairs, replacements and maintenance work or extra power points or lighting points or other alterations to existing circuits (except in a kitchen or bathroom, or outdoors).

The Building Regulations set out overall criteria and requirements to ensure electrical safety. Approved Document P provides further practical guidance for undertaking this type of work. You should bear in mind that any electrical work you carry out within your home, garden, garage shed and other storage buildings may need to comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations. If you are unsure about whether you are required to comply you may wish to contact your local authorities building regulations department

You should make a Building Regulations application to Building Control if the electrician you employ to carry out the works is not registered as a competent person under one of the relevant Competent Person Schemes for electrical installations or if you do the work yourself. You should contact your local authority building control department before you start the work. They will explain the requisite procedures to you.

It is also best to discuss with Building Control how they wish to inspect and check the works you are carrying out.

EXTERNAL WALL DAMP PROOF COURSE (DPC)

It is good construction practise to position the damp proof course within an external wall a minimum distance of 150mm above the finished, external ground level. This detail helps prevent moisture bouncing over the damp proof course where it could penetrate internally. It is therefore imperative that this distance is maintained on completion of garden landscaping works. Quite often it is not.

HOUSE EXTENSIONS

Due to their size and location, most house extensions to properties require both Planning Permission and Building Regulation Approval

CONDENSATION

Condensation within the home can be alleviated by adhering to a strict regime of heating and ventilation.

DEMOLITION

When intending to demolish a building, official notice must be given to Building Control, usually a minimum of six weeks prior to the intended start date.

WORK TO AN EXISTING ROOF

If you want to carry out repairs on or re-cover less than 25 per cent of the area of a pitch or flat roof, you will not normally need to submit a building regulations application. You will need approval, however, if:

  • You carry out structural alterations
  • The performance of the new covering will be significantly different to that of the existing covering in the event of a fire
  • You are replacing/ repairing more than 25 per cent of the roof area, in which case, the roof thermal insulation would normally have to be improved.

The removal or alteration to any roof elements could affect how the roof works and cause movement to occur. Movement could cause cracks to occur in the walls and, possibly, the eventual collapse of the roof. When performing work on any roof, care should be taken to ensure the roof will continue to perform effectively and without any movement.

Existing Pitched Roofs

The existing roof structure that forms the loft space has a number of timber elements that make the overall pitch. Each element enables the roof to span across the building and support the tiles/covering on top as well as being able to transfer the loads (weight) created by any wind and snow down to the walls.

Listed below are the typical elements of a pitched roof:

  • Ridge Board – This forms the apex of the roof and is where the rafters are fixed to both sides.
  • Rafters – These are the timbers that form the main pitch to the roof and support the tiles and battens.
  • Purlins – These are long pieces of timbers that are normally seen half way along the rafters and act like beams to reduce the span (unsupported length) of the rafters.
  • Struts – These support the purlins.  They are fixed at an angle with one end connected to the purlin and the other on to a load bearing wall or a timber spread across ceiling joists. These are the diagonal timbers seen in the roof.
  • Ties – These are timbers which stop the roof from spreading and form an A-frame shape.  They can either be the ceiling joists (as described below) or can be fixed half way up usually above the purlin and are fixed horizontally from front to back. (Common in terraced houses).
  • Ceiling Joists – These can act as ties, but mainly support the ceiling below.  Their sizes are usually relatively small and will not be able to take the load of any typical room used in a house.

Existing Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are more simple and generally consist of joists that span the gap between two walls. These are covered by panels which, in turn, are covered in felting or other such coatings as required.

RE-ROOFING

After a period of time the roof on existing buildings will need to be replaced. In most situations, this work will need Building Regulations approval.

Flat Roofs

Some repairs to flats roofs will not require an application for approval under the Building Regulations. However, if the roof with integral insulation is to be replaced then you may be required to upgrade this ‘thermal element’ of the structure and reduce the amount of heat that was originally lost, by upgrading the insulation.

Pitch Roof

If the existing roof covering is to be replaced with a different material to its original for example, slate to tiles, then approval under the Building Regulations is likely to be needed to ensure the roof will be adequate in terms of structural stability (applicable where the replacement tile will be significantly heavier or lighter than the existing), and also meets requirements in respect of fire safety and energy efficiency (see above).

If the new roof covering is significantly heavier or lighter than the existing one, the roof structure may need modifying and/or strengthening, and you are advised to check with a structural engineer or surveyor before commencing with works.

Energy Efficiency

As a roof is defined as a thermal element, the work to re-cover a roof should also include for improving the thermal insulation properties of the roof.

ROOFLIGHTS

A rooflight is a window that is installed within a pitched roof or flat roof normally to give more light to rooms or spaces within the home.  Approval under the Building Regulations will generally be needed for the installation of a new rooflight for the following reasons:

  • To install a rooflight, the roof structure will generally need to be altered to create the opening.
  • The roof will have to be able to carry the load (weight) of the new rooflight. If the roof can not do this then it will need to be strengthened.
  • Any rooflight that is installed will need to prove that it has sufficient insulation against heat loss i.e. is energy efficient.
  • If the rooflight is in close proximity to a boundary, the fire performance of the rooflight will need to be considered.

Structure

To install a rooflight in a roof generally entails cutting part of one or more of the roof’s rafters or joists away. The cut ends of the rafter/joist will need to have new support introduced – usually achieved by fixing two pieces of timber together which span across the new opening on either side. These double timbers are called ‘trimmers’.

The adjacent rafters or joists to which these trimmers are fixed may also need to be strengthened as they will be supporting the load transferred from the cut rafters or joists.  This strengthening can be achieved by fixing a new rafter or joist to them which must also run the full length.

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