We’ve put together a list of the most important UK building regulations books (the latest editions) in the industry. From historical presentation of Building Control in the United Kingdom and through the final stages of project delivery, these highly informative materials will surely bring value to your investment and organisation.
If you are starting your development in London and surroundings, we are most definitely happy to help. We have the experience, the knowledge and the energy to offer you the best counselling regarding the building regulations applications in the UK we are capable of. We can do the applications for you, advise you regarding the timeframe and costs involved, design the entire development project for you or just undertake the survey.
However, if you’re working within the industry, already have the knowledge or you simply wish to learn more about the existing building regulations in the UK, here are 6 books we wholeheartedly recommend based on our experience, discussions with other professionals and recommendations we have received ourselves. When you are starting an important project for yourself or a client, you want to do your homework and know all there is to know.
None of these books are a breeze to get through (although some are better worded for the general public than others), but giving the importance of the matter, should they be?
1. Building Regulations in Brief, 10th Ed (May 2022)
Answers questions like “What are the duties of the Local Authority?”, “What does the Building Act 1984 contain?” and “Can I appeal against a local authority’s ruling?”, among others. The book is a no-nonsense approach to Building Regulations and every CAD designer, average builder, trader or DYI enthusiast in the UK should have a copy of this. As a Chartered Building Surveyor you should probably know this by heart already.
This tenth edition of the most popular and trusted guide reflects all the latest amendments to the Building Regulations, planning permission and the Approved Documents in England and Wales. This includes coverage of the changes in light of the Hackitt Review, updates to Approved Document B and L, and the reinstatement of the Manual to the Building Regulations. Recent changes to use classes and the sections on planning permission and permitted development have been revised and details of fees have been updated.
The no-nonsense approach has made it a firm favourite with all involved in the building industry including designers, building surveyors and inspectors, students and architects. A ready reference giving practical information, it enables compliance in the simplest and most cost-effective manner possible. Building Regulations in Brief cuts through the confusion to explain the meaning of the regulations, their history, current status, requirements, associated documentation and how local authorities view their importance, as well as emphasizing the benefits and requirements of each regulation. It’s an essential purchase for anyone needing to comply with the building regulations.
This simple approach to the regulations, without delving too deeply into detail, gives a perfect guide for the DIY person, student, site operative and architect as well as other professionals across the board; the key being that it helps you to locate the vital information. It is also extremely cost effective compared to the full documents which are not easy to read or as accessible due to the multiple volumes.
2. Guide to the Building Regulations, 3rd Ed (Dec 2015)
A really handy reference book (link updated for the latest edition, printed in December 2015). Any Architectural Technician would find this book easier to flick through, than trawling through the Approved Docs every time. The diagrams are very clear and the text is well explained. Written to save time for hard-pressed users, Guide to the Building Regulations will be a welcome companion for architects, construction professionals and building control officers alike.
This practical time-saver manual summarises what the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations (England and Wales) and associated guidance require and explains how to comply. Fully up to date with the 2010 amendments to the Regulations (Parts F, G, J and L) and produced by the official publishers of the Approved Documents, this brand new manual is comprehensive in scope.
Structured by ‘Part’ of the Building Regulations and highlighting key compliance issues, the guidance focuses on the more difficult areas such as Part L. Advice is also given where third-party guidance and standards cited in the Approved Documents have been revised but the Approved Document itself has not yet been updated, making this undoubtedly the most current book on the topic. An uncluttered and user-friendly layout allows the essentials to be assimilated quickly and enables readers to navigate easily from section to section.
3. The Building Regulations: Explained and Illustrated, 14th revised Ed (Apr 2017)
The Building Regulations: Explained and Illustrated provides a detailed, authoritative and well illustrated guide to building control in England and Wales. This latest edition (14th as of February 2016, which will be launched again as a re-revised edition in March 2017) has been fully revised throughout to ensure it continues in that strong tradition. In particular, Part B Fire, Part G Hygiene and Part L Conservation of Fuel and Power have seen major changes to reflect recent changes to the regulations.
′The cost of getting some detail wrong far outweighs the price of this book … For any builder, plumber or carpenter working in the UK I would say that this book is a must. Even if it the only book you own it is worth having.
A host of smaller changes to the administration of the Regulations are also included.
Well arranged and easy to follow, The Building Regulations: Explained and Illustrated is an excellent publication that allows students and experienced professionals alike to become familiar with the often wide array of Building Regulations in the UK, with detailed examples of many areas of applying regulations to real situations. After purchasing the book, many questions I had in regard to applying Building Regulations to actual problems both in new build as well as existing modernisation or alteration to properties were quickly resolved and simply understood because of the manner in the way the book is written; and this will, I am confident, be experienced by students and professionals alike who add this to their data bases.
4. Understanding the Building Regulations (Understanding Construction), 6th Ed (Sep 2014)
Presented by it’s author and other specialists as the most concise, jargon-free and compact guide to the UK building regulations at the moment, Understanding the Building Regulations seeks to simplify what are at best extremely complex and detailed regulations in the United Kingdom.
The book tries to explain using as little wording and instructions as possible the Approved Documents [running from document A (Structure) through to Document P (Electrical Safety)] that forms the main thrust of this book, but let us tell you right now that that is extensive ground to cover.
Considering the price, its importance and the accessible language used throughout the material, this remains one the most user-friendly, informative and useful books on the subject and we can easily recommended it for those studying construction, the operatives in the construction industry and the actual construction and design professionals of any level, as one of those core textbooks that form a personal technical collection.
This is a publication drafted by a building control expert who seeks to give clear, sensible and straightforward guidance that will be accessible to everyone concerned with construction of buildings in England.
5. Building Construction Handbook, 12th Ed (April 2020)
With the first edition published back in 1998, the 11th edition comes after quite a few years of regulation changes and information gathering: Chudley and Greeno’s Building Construction Handbook is now the essential, easy-to-use resource for undergraduate and vocational students on a wide range of courses including NVQ and BTEC National, through to HNC and HND, to Foundation and three-year Degree level. It is also a useful practical reference for building designers, contractors and others engaged in the construction industry.
The book presents the basic concepts and techniques of building construction and is packed with straightforward and easy to follow illustrations which outline the principles, processes and concepts of building and construction being discussed. This method reflects the primary means of communication on site between building designer and contractor. Addresses areas including site works, substructure, superstructure, internal construction and finishes, and domestic services.
This new edition has been updated to reflect recent changes to the building regulations, as well as new material on the latest technologies used in domestic construction.
Building Construction Handbook covers all the necessary basics you need to get started on any general construction subject in a straightforward, concise manner.
6. CDM Regulations 2015 Procedures Manual, 4th Ed (Oct 2016)
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (also known as CDM 2015) came into force on Monday 6 April 2015, replacing the CDM 2007 regulations (and initially were elaborated in 31st March 1995). These constitute the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects, large and small, and CAD designers should have a decent grasp of them.
What changed from CDM 2007? The key changes of the CDM 2015 Regulations involve the HSE more than before and new enforcements, like having properly trained and experienced workforce and a written construction phase plan for all projects have been added, along with considerations affecting the length of works and the number of contractors involved (where HSE must be notified should certain conditions are met) and keeping an up to date health and safety file. HSE book here.
The CDM Regulations 2015 Procedures Manual coherently presents and explains the statutory duties, and provides a documentation framework to ensure associated compliance and improved chances of delivering projects with less or no issues. The publication is structured in 9 chapters and has been thoroughly revised to take account of the amendments to the CDM Regulations brought about by the 2015 update, which requires both subtle and significant changes in the management of health and safety within the construction industry.
It’s not a facile lecture but it is an essential one.
7. Complete Reference Set of Approved Documents to the Building Regulations (2015), RIBA
The complete reference set of Approved Documents to the Building Regulations, contains all of the latest Approved Documents to the Building Regulations. The reference set is supplied in two ring binders for ease of reference.
The Approved Documents, in simple terms, set out the way(s) in which you can ensure that you comply with the performance requirements of the building regulations. You can use another way of complying but you will have to demonstrate to the local authority how you will comply with these requirements. The Building Regulations contain minimum requirements to which buildings in England must comply.
Free alternatives that you can print yourself
- The Planning Portal website has the complete set of Approved Documents compiled by Government to provide guidance for how each ‘Part’ of the Building Regulations can be complied with when undertaking building work (including plumbing, electrics, extensions, etc.).
- The Local Authority Building Control website also lists these documents in both HTML and downloadable PDF that can be printed (for England only).
- Additionally, the Merged Approved Documents PDF can be downloaded directly from the Gov.uk website (21MB) and includes the 2021 editions of Approved Document B volume 1: Dwellings and Approved Document B volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings, which took effect on 26 November 2020 for use in England. More information here.
8. Guide to Building Control (2013), by Anthony Gwynne
The main purpose of the Guide to Building Control is to clarify the practical requirements of the Building Regulations and help you meet their requirements from the very beginning of starting the project; all the information contained in the Building Regulations 2010 and Approved Documents is presented here in an easy–to–understand format, clear, concise and fully illustrated.
Guide to Building Control illustrates the design and construction of the various building elements and explains the principles and processes of the building regulations and approved documents – including structure, fire safety, contaminates, sound insulation, ventilation, water efficiency, drainage systems, combustion appliances, stairs and guarding, energy conservation/green building issues, disabled access, safety glazing, electrical safety, materials and workmanship. A recommended read.
The amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 and the Approved Documents apply in relation to building work carried out in England and also to building work on excepted energy buildings in Wales.
You can read the official circular letter on the gov.uk website [PDF, new window].
9. Worthy mentions
- Updated on 14 January 2017 to add #6.
- Updated on 26 January 2017 to add the latest edition to #3.
- Updated on 10 May 2017 to add #7, #8 and the orange box with the BR update.
- Updated on 3 April 2018 to add latest ed to #1.
- Updated on 17th August 2018: internal links correction.
- Updated on 28 October 2020 to add latest edition of #5 and #9
- Updated on Jan 2022 to add latest edition of #1, free download links for #7 and latest editions for #9