Assignment 1 – Building control – Principles and practiceTask 1:Building Regulations – A historic overviewBuilding Regulations are a set of minimum standards that should be complied with, when constructing a building. These standards have been evolved over a period of more than three centuries. Government from time to time brought up legislation for building control for the purpose of safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of people in and about buildings. Government control of building works dates back to 1667. The great fire of London in 1666 was the triggering event for the introduction of legislation controlling building work.
Rapid spread of fire through the large number of timber houses built adjacent to each other caused a colossal damage. More than Thirteen Thousand (13,000) houses, Eighty Seven (87) churches, and many important buildings were destroyed by the fire. Two Hundred Thousand (200,000) people were made homeless. Rebuilding the city was a great challenge. When the rebuilding of the houses was done the possibility of fire spreading to adjacent buildings had to be considered. The first legislation to control the building works was introduced in 1667.
This required the buildings to have some form of fire resistance. (Fire, 26 Oct. 2007 http: //www. channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/fire/firemap. html)From then on, the laws controlling the buildings work have evolved responding to the various needs, depending on the changes of construction methods, materials and technology, population growth, lifestyles, growing concerns about the environment etc. At present the legislations that cover the buildings work is Building Act of 1984, and the regulations introduced under this law. The current regulations are better known as Building Regulations 1991 which are made by the Secretary of State for the Environment under powers delegated by Parliament under the Building Act 1984.
The main purpose of the regulations is to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of people in and about buildings are safeguarded. Building designs and subsequent site works are supervised to Building Regulations which has become national standards. These regulations will be changed and new regulations will be introduced by the government when it is necessary. This will be done by introducing new regulations by the Secretary of State for the Environment or through the amendments or new acts passed by the Parliament.
The first legislation passed in 1667 was the effective law governing buildings until the first Public Health act of 1875 was passed. The developments brought about by the Industrial Revolution also resulted in densely populated areas with congested houses with poor living conditions. Serious health problems like respiratory diseases, Tuberculosis and outbreaks of Cholera, due to poor sanitation, damp conditions and the lack of ventilation were direct results of bad housing. Government had to enforce tighter control on buildings. This resulted in the introduction of Public Health Act in 1875.
The building control was the major role in this act. Two major revisions to the Public Health act in 1936 and 1961, lead to the first set of national building standards, The Building Regulations 1965. At present the Building Regulations are set out in 14 Approved Documents. If the work is in compliance with the guidance provided by these documents, it is considered that the regulations are complied with. The 14 Approved Documents, and the subjects dealt with in these are listed below.