The UK's Building regulations are statutory instruments that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. Building regulations that apply across England and Wales are set out in the Building Act 1984 while those that apply across Scotland are set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. The Act in England and Wales permits detailed regulations to be made by the Secretary of State. The regulations made under the Act have been periodically updated, rewritten or consolidated, with the latest and current version being the Building Regulations 2010. The UK Government (at Westminster) is responsible for the relevant legislation and administration in England, the Welsh Government (at Cardiff) is the responsible body in Wales, the Scottish Government (at Edinburgh) is responsible for the issue in Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Executive (at Belfast) has responsibility within its jurisdiction. There are very similar (and technically very comparable) Building Regulations in the Republic of Ireland. The detailed requirements of Building regulations in England (and Wales) are scheduled within 16 separate headings, each designated by a letter ("Part A" to "Part Q"), and covering aspects such as "workmanship", "adequate materials", "structure", "waterproofing" & "weatherisation", "fire safety" & "means of escape", "sound isolation", "ventilation", "safe (potable) water", "protection from falling", "drainage", "sanitary facilities", "accessible access" & "facilities for the disabled", "electrical safety", "security of a building","high speed broadband infrastructure", and so on. For each Part, detailed specifications are available free online (in the English and Welsh governments's "approved documents") describing the matters to be taken into account. The approved documents are not literally legally binding in how the requirements must be met; rather, they present the expectation of the Secretary of State concerning the minimum appropriate standards required for compliance with the Building Regulations, and the common methods & materials used to achieve these. The use of appropriate British Standards and/or European Standards is also accepted as one way of complying with the Building Regulations requirements. However, the supply of gas (natural and/or LPG) is not controlled by the Building Regulations, as there are separate Gas Safety Regulations enforced by the Health and Safety Executive HSE). Newer versions of Building Regulations are generally not retrospective, they are applied to each new change or modification to a building (or new part of a building) but do not require renovation of existing elements. There are general requirements for any change or improvement, that the building must not be left any less satisfactory in compliance than before the works, and areas worked on must not be left in unsafe condition by reference to current standards. The Regulations may also specify in some cases, that when enough work is done in an area (such as partial new insulation) the remainder of that area must be brought to an appropriate standard, however the standard required for an existing building may be less stringent than that required for a completely new building. The Regulations also specify, that some types of work must be undertaken by an appropriate qualified professional (such as works on gas or certain electrical matters), or must be notified to the relevant local authority's Building regulations approval for certification or approval. However, it should be remembered that the Building regulations are separate and distinct from Town Planning and planning permission; the building regulations control how buildings are to be designed or modified on the public grounds of safety and sustainability while planning permission is concerned with appropriate development, the nature of land usage, and the appearance of neighbourhoods. Therefore, both must be considered when building works are to be undertaken.
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