Your best laid plans for a new-build

What do Building Regulations mean you can and can’t do when you are building a house?

Building Regulations in the United Kingdom are an essential part of any construction development. What is deemed permissible and what is not has a huge impact on the extent to which properties can be altered. It also covers new-build properties with the most up-to-date legislation. 

Building Regulations, or Building Regs, are amended every few years, as new technologies and regulations come into play. They cover almost every aspect of a building, its design and its construction components. They range from glazing safety, structure and sound transfer to ventilation, sanitation, hygiene and water efficiency. One notable exception is gas supplies to properties, which is dealt with under separate legislation.  

Digital communications

In 2017 a section was introduced to cover ‘High Speed Broadband Infrastructure’, which acknowledged the rise in prominence of digital telecommunications at home and at work. From 2005 ‘building work’ now includes any work on household electrics. Many changes have been made in the last two decades on how energy loss from properties impacts on the environment. This shows how construction experts, scientists and engineers have become more aware of how energy can be conserved (more efficient methods of heating within properties) and retained (with better insulation included in the building fabric).    

Getting planning permission

For planning permissions to be granted, plans will have to be submitted to the local council’s planning portal and building control, to be assessed and either passed or refused. During the work being carried out, a building control officer or building inspector will visit the work at various stages of completion. This is to ensure the workmanship and materials meet the quality and standard required. For example, foundations or footings will be checked. This is to make sure they comply with the depth and strength required for the base of the building and that the ground quality is strong enough to support the building load.

What’s exempt from Building Regulations?

There are some exemptions from Building Regulations. These include buildings not frequented by people. Other exceptions to the rules include buildings that are dealt with by other legislation (i.e. building used for the manufacture of explosives, or related to nuclear power), greenhouses and other agricultural buildings, small detached buildings (such as garages and garden sheds, that are less than 30 square metres and don’t include sleeping accommodation), temporary buildings erected for less than 28 days. Even some extensions may be exempt, such as conservatories and porches less than 30 square metres in floor area.

Approaching any building project is best done with the collaboration and advice of experts. Whatever the size of your project, CB Homes will be able to steer you in the right direction. The team will tell you who to contact, when, and help to define what is and what’s not allowed.

Starting from the ground up

When you’re choosing the location to build your ideal home, there are a variety of factors to consider.

What do you need to consider when choosing the location of your new home?

When you’re choosing the location to build your ideal home, there are a variety of factors to consider. Obviously budget is key. The extent to which your finances will stretch sets the boundaries to your ambitions. The best way to avoid any disappointment is to be realistic. Talking to design and build specialists early on in the thought and planning process can set achievable, manageable goals from the outset.  

Land can be less expensive in urban areas, but has far superior basic infrastructure in place – bus and rail links, internet and Wi-Fi, shops. The gulf between town and country has never been so wide, in terms of amenities and services. But country living offers its own appeals too – the healthy rural environment, a lack of noise and air pollution, a safer environment to bring up children and a more relaxed, sedate pace of life to the hustle and bustle of the city.  Or perhaps the suburbs are where you’d be happiest, with easy access to the city, but a stone’s throw from the countryside.    

Location, location, location

When you are looking at locations, particularly for new build, beware of any Conservation Area restraints on the neighbourhood, as this may restrict your ambitions should you want to build, alter or extend the property. If you’re looking at land to build on, basics like topography and the logistics of access – for builders and suppliers – can be major deciding factors in which site you choose. Lots of trees with preservation orders, for example, can be costly, as can resident wildlife such as bats and newts.

If you already know the local area well, you’ll be fully aware of where is value for money, where is overpriced, up-and-coming, or best avoided. But if you’re new to the area, do your research thoroughly. This is another area where companies such as ours can help clients find the area that is ideal for them. Add up the various factors – location, value-for-money, scope, personal preference – and make a judgement that will stand you in good stead in the future.