A raft of changes have been made to the England regulations and their Approved Documents (ADs) as of March 2015. Here we summarise the key changes.

The new statutory instrument (the Building Regulations &c (Amendment) Regulations 2015) is now available from the Construction Information Service externallink, as are the ADs and the CLG Circular 01/2015 externallinkwhich goes into more detail about legal changes.

The ADs updated are Parts E, G, H, and M (now M1 and M2), with a new Part Q.

  • Part E – Changes are limited to an update of the referencing to school standards.
  • Part G – Provides guidance on the new water efficiency calculator methodology. It also introduces a fittings approach as an alternative to the calculator. Higher 'optional' requirements to calculated usage and fittings criteria may be used as a condition of planning consent where the local authority has a policy with supporting plans in place.
  • Part H – Updates the storage and handling of solid waste covering capacity, siting and design. There are minor changes to H3 as a result of changes to Part M.
  • Part M – Approved documents are now in two volumes (M1 and M2). Volume one covers dwellings and two covers buildings which are not dwellings. Volume two is essentially the previous single volume part with sections 6 to10 inclusive taken out. These are now covered in the new volume one.

    As with Part G, the regulations introduce the choice of 'optional' requirement, where a local authority has suitable housing policy and plans in place. The baseline requirements are from the previous Part M. They form Category 1 Visitable dwellings and are mandatory in the regulations. Optional Category 2 covers Accessible and Adaptable dwellings and Category 3 deals with Wheelchair user dwellings.
  • Part Q – Introduced supporting Q1 Unauthorised access of Schedule 1 to the 2010 Building Regulations. Security - dwellings uses BS PAS 24 as its baseline standard, although it refers to examples of other standards setting similar or better performance criteria. Dwellings must be able to resist unauthorised access from outside and in the case of flats also from within via common and other areas.

Changes to the building control system have been made as a result of these changes. The building control body will need to be informed as to whether a building is a new dwelling and, if so, whether optional requirements have been applied. Failure to supply this information can lead to rejection of notices and certificates. There has also been some tidying up of to the list of authorisations to competent persons schemes.