In his latest monthly column, retired airtight technician Trevor Clark gives us details on building regulations:

Building regulations and ‘U-values’ (which measures how good or bad a component is at transmitting heat) are designed to set minimum standards for the conservation of fuel and power. But they are just that - the bare minimum!

For those who are looking to build energy efficient homes with good indoor air quality, the regulations are simply part of the process. The design of such energy efficient buildings should far exceed these minimum standards.

By designing a building regulation compliant structure, developers are effectively constructing the worst building you can build by law, and building regulations are no guarantee of quality.

Over the last 50 years, the level of insulation required in building regulations has changed drastically to reflect both the need to reduce heating bills and the increasing demand for comfort from homeowners.

The story of building regulation and control is one of belated action in response to crisis, and of continuing tension between the protection of the public and the developers profit.

The Building (Scotland) Act in 1959 gave the secretary of state the power to create building regulations. The first were published in 1963 and came into force in 1964. England, Wales and Ireland followed suit.

Building regulations in the United Kingdom are statutory instruments or statutory regulations 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 across the UK. The regulations made have been periodically updated, rewritten or consolidated.

The regulations cover aspects such as workmanship, adequate materials, structure, waterproofing and weatherisation, fire safety and means of escape, sound isolation, safe water, protection from falling, drainage, sanitary facilities, accessibility and facilities for the disabled, electrical safety, security of a building, and high speed broadband infrastructure.

The Isle of Man follows the English versions of the building regulations and have on occasion adapted them, which has seen improvement.

However, they use a much edited down version of the regulations where 'copy and paste' is the order of the day, with the inevitable error arising where a paragraph or section is copied from the UK version and pasted into a different section of the island’s regulations, distorting the intent of the regulation in doing so.