What is an Approved Document
1.1 This Approved Document, which takes effect on 1 October 2010, has been approved and issued by the Secretary of State to provide practical guidance on ways of complying with the energy efficiency requirements (see Section 2) and regulation 7 of the Building Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/2214) for England and Wales. Regulation 2(1) of the Building Regulations defines the energy efficiency requirements as the requirements of regulations 23, 25A, 25B, 26, 28, 29 and 40 and Part L of Schedule 1. The Building Regulations 2010 are referred to throughout the remainder of this Document as ‘the Building Regulations’.
1.2 The intention of issuing Approved Documents is to provide guidance about compliance with specific aspects of building regulations in some of the more common building situations. They set out what, in ordinary circumstances, may be accepted as reasonable provision for compliance with the relevant requirement(s) of building regulations to which they refer.
1.3 If guidance in an Approved Document is followed there will be a presumption of compliance with the requirement(s) covered by the guidance. However, this presumption can be overturned, so simply following guidance does not guarantee compliance; for example, if the particular case is unusual in some way, then ‘normal’ guidance may not be applicable. It is also important to note that there may well be other ways of achieving compliance with the requirements. There is therefore no obligation to adopt any particular solution contained in this Approved Document if you would prefer to meet the relevant requirement in some other way. Persons intending to carry out building work should always check with their building control body, either the local authority or an approved inspector, that their proposals comply with building regulations.
1.4 It is important to note that this Approved Document, as well as containing guidance, also contains extracts from the Regulations. Such regulatory text must be complied with as stated. For example, the requirement that the fixed building services must be commissioned (Regulation 44) is a regulatory requirement. There is therefore no flexibility to ignore this requirement; neither can compliance with this particular regulation be demonstrated via any route other than that set out in Regulation 44.
1.5 The guidance contained in this Approved Document relates only to the particular requirements of the Building Regulations that the document addresses (set out in Section 2). However, building work may be subject to more than one requirement of building regulations. In such cases the work will also have to comply with any other applicable requirements of building regulations.
1.6 There are Approved Documents that give guidance on each of the Parts of Schedule 1 and on regulation 7. A full list of these is provided at the back of this document.
Consideration of technical risk
1.7 Building work to existing buildings must satisfy all the technical requirements set out in regulations 22, 23, 28 and 29 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Building Regulations. When considering the incorporation of energy efficiency measures in buildings, attention should also be paid in particular to the need to comply with Part B (fire safety), Part C (site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture), Part E (resistance to the passage of sound), Part F (ventilation), paragraph G3 (hot water supply and systems), Part J (combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) and Part P (electrical safety) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations, as well as Part L. The adoption of any particular energy efficiency measure should not involve unacceptable technical risk of, for instance, excessive condensation. Designers and builders should refer to the relevant Approved Documents and to other generally available good practice guidance to help minimise these risks.
How to use this Approved Document
1.8 This Approved Document is subdivided into seven sections as detailed below. These main sections are followed by supporting appendices.
This introductory section sets out the general context in which the guidance in the Approved Document must be considered.
Section 2 sets out the relevant legal requirements contained in the Building Regulations.
Section 3 contains general guidance, including the definition of key terms, the types of building work covered by this Approved Document, the types of building work that are exempt, procedures for notifying work, materials and workmanship and health and safety issues, an overview of the routes to compliance, and how to deal with ‘special’ areas of buildings that contain dwellings.
Section 4 details the considerations that apply to demonstrating that the building work will meet the energy efficiency requirements. This section begins the detailed technical guidance relating to showing compliance with the energy efficiency requirements.
Section 5 details the considerations that apply when providing or renovating thermal elements.
Section 6 gives guidance about the requirement for consequential improvements for buildings over 1,000 m².
Section 7 describes the information that should be provided to occupiers to help them achieve reasonable standards of energy efficiency in practice.
1.9 In this document the following conventions have been adopted to assist understanding and interpretation:
a. Texts shown against a green background are extracts from the Building Regulations 2010/(2010/2214) or Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010/(2010/2215), and set out the legal requirements that relate to compliance with the energy efficiency requirements of building regulations. As stated previously, there is no flexibility in respect of such text; it defines a legal requirement, not guidance for typical situations. It should also be remembered that, as noted above, building works must comply with all the other applicable requirements of building regulations.
b. Key terms are defined in paragraph 3.1 and are printed in bold italic text.
c. Details of technical publications referred to in the text of this Approved Document will be given in footnotes and repeated as references at the end of the document. A reference to a publication is likely to be made for one of two main reasons. The publication may contain additional or more comprehensive technical detail, which it would be impractical to include in full in the Approved Document but which is needed to fully explain ways of meeting the requirements; or it is a source of more general information. The reason for the reference will be indicated in each case. The reference will be to a specified edition of the document. The Approved Document may be amended from time to time to include new references or to refer to revised editions where this aids compliance.
d. Additional commentary in italic text appears after some numbered paragraphs. This commentary is intended to assist understanding of the immediately preceding paragraph or sub-paragraph, or to direct readers to sources of additional information, but is not part of the technical guidance itself.
Where you can get further help
1.10 If you do not understand the technical guidance or other information set out in this Approved Document and the additional detailed technical references to which it directs you, there are a number of routes through which you can seek further assistance:
- the Department for Communities and Local Government website:
- the Planning Portal website:
- if you are the person undertaking the building work, you can seek assistance either from your local authority building control service or from your approved inspector (depending on which building control service you are using);
- persons registered with a competent person self-certification scheme may be able to get technical advice from their scheme operator;
- if your query is of a highly technical nature, you may wish to seek the advice of a specialist, or industry technical body, for the relevant subject.
Responsibility for compliance
1.11 It is important to remember that if you are the person (e.g. designer, builder, installer) carrying out building work to which any requirement of building regulations applies you have a responsibility to ensure that the work complies with any such requirement. The building owner may also have a responsibility for ensuring compliance with building regulation requirements and could be served with an enforcement notice in cases of non-compliance.