The term ‘Building Regulations’ (sometime referred to as ‘Building Codes’ in countries outside the UK) refers to minimum standards to which buildings and other structures within a particular jurisdiction must conform. In many cases, they were created in response to tragic events causing loss of life and were often initially focused on fire safety. For instance, one of the earliest examples of Building Regulations in the UK was the London Building Act of 1667 which was introduced following the Great Fire of London in 1666 with a view to reducing the risk and/or impact of future fires. The first national set of Building Regulations for England and Wales were published in the Building Act of 1965, following the Public Health Act of 1961, and came into force in 1966. These regulations were still focussed on improving health and safety and were created partly in response to the poor living conditions and safety issues with much of the fast and large-scale housebuilding that took place due to rapid population growth during the 20th Century and as part of the post-war rebuilding efforts. The current system of Building Regulations in the UK have their routes in the Building Act of 1984 which began to consider other aspects of building performance beyond health and safety alone. Since then, there have been a number of updates, and with continuous development and refinement over time, advancements in building physics, and greater awareness of the impact of buildings on the environment, they were expanded to include a wider range of concerns such as; sanitation, ventilation, acoustics, electrical safety, and energy use. The Building Regulations for England and Wales are now scheduled within 16 separate headings, each designated by a letter (Part A to Part Q), and a comprehensive set of documents called the “Approved Documents” provide guidance for how each ‘Part’ can be complied with.
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