When an edge is not an edge?

The latest edition of Approved Document M is now available on-line, prior to coming into force at the start of October 2015. I will review the content in a little while, but for now, I just want to observe one of DCLG’s Humpty Dumpty moments.

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass Alice meets Humpty Dumpty; this is part of their exchange:

`I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”‘ Alice said. 

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘ 

`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

Which is exactly the approach DCLG have taken:

Leading edge (of door): The surface of a door which leads into, (or faces), the room or space into which the door is being opened – sometimes referred to as ‘the pull side’.

What could be more fun than deciding to define an edge as a face or surface? It’s not as if they have saved themselves any space: leading face would take up no more letters.

So the answer to the question in the title of this post is: when it is a face. Hardly fall-off-chair funny, but perhaps worth a wry smile.

Part L 2014

So it’s going to be April 2014 and it’s going to be 6% uplift for dwellings and 9% for non-dwellings, with nothing for work to existing buildings – or so they say. We still don’t know how the TER will work, although the fuel factor is staying, but we do know there will be a fabric energy efficiency measure. Other than that, well, we have to wait and see what the detail is.

But, until then, we have had the predictable responses.

There was some hope that the long delay in an announcement meant that the government had seen sense and realism had prevailed. Instead we seem to have ended up back where we started, with potentially serious consequences for capacity and supply within the house-building industry. — Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders


This delay is yet another example of the ‘greenest government ever’ dragging its feet when it comes to making any real or decisive changes towards improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. Indeed, the whole timescale for achieving zero carbon is in danger of being derailed by government delays and setbacks. — John Sinfield, Managing Director, Knauf Insulation Northern Europe.

Perhaps there will come a day when someone representing the constructing side of the construction industry welcomes a change in the Building Regulations. Perhaps.


On the menu for 2013

The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has been consulting on the next set of changes to the Building Regulations in England since 2010. At the end of 2010 they published a summary of the areas they were going to be studying in more detail. You can get the document here: Future changes to the Building Regulations – next steps 

But as a summary of their summary:

Part A Structure

  • Referenced standards to be reviewed following the introduction of the Eurocodes, but there is unlikely to be a wholesale review.

Part B Fire safety

  • Unlikely to be a wholesale review.

Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

  • Referenced standards to be reviewed following the introduction of the Eurocodes.
  • Review of provisions relating to radon gas, which may result in consultation on changes.

Part D Toxic substances

  • Possible consultion on removing Part D, which only covers urea formaldehyde cavity wall fill.

Part E Resistance to passage of sound

  • Possible revision of guidance to make it more concise.
  • Possible change to Requirement E4 and the guidance for schools to be ‘suitable’ aoustically.

Part F Ventilation

  • To consider comments on Part F as part of review of Part L in order to minimise complexity.

Part G Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency

  • No intention to review Part G for 2013, as it was completely overhauled in 2010.
  • There may be some review on guidance on toilet provision in conjunction with HSE.

Part H Drainage and waste disposal

  • Drainage requirements will not be revised, but there may be some changes to keep guidance in line with standards.
  • There will be a review of the regulatory approach to waste storage and access (Requirement H6) in the light of different approaches to waste collection.

Part J Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems

  • No intention to review it for 2013 following 2010’s thorough overhaul.

Part K Protection from falling, collision and impact

  • The overlapping provisions of Part K, N and M will be revised to eliminate conflict, but there will be no wider review.

Part L Conservation of fuel and power

  • Full scale review coming, with the aim of implementing ‘further cost-effective changes to the energy efficiency of buildings.’ Whilst making sure there are no adverse consequences, e.g. increased risk of overheating or reduced indoor air quality. Consultation to be published by December 2011.

Part M Access to and use of buildings

  • The case for introducing regulations for adult Changing Places will be examined, together with the possibility of including the Lifetime Homes Standard in the Regulations.
  • Rationalisation of K, M and N where they overlap.
  • To examine how access statements have worked.

Part N Glazing – Safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning

  • Rationalisation of M, K and N where requirements and guidance overlaps.

Part P Electrical safety – dwellings

  • The requirements will be reviewed, together with implementation and compliance mechanisms.

Regulation 7 – Materials and workmanship

  • Some changes to bring Regulation 7 into line with EU Construction Products Regulations.

Other technical issues

  • Concerns have been raised about security, flood resilience and resistance and climate change adaption. There is no certainty of regulation in those matters, as other approaches will be considered.

The Building Control System

  • Consultations will be going forward.