LABC Cymru logoA Brief History of Building Regulations

The Great Fire of London in 1666 was the single most significant event which has shaped legislation of today. The rapid growth of the fire through timber buildings built adjacent to each other highlighted the need to take into account the possible spread of fire between properties when the rebuilding work was undertaken.

Barn Conversion, Margam

The first building construction legislation was therefore born in 1667 requiring buildings to have some form of fire resistance.

Two hundred years on the Industrial Revolution had led to poor living and working conditions in ever expanding, densely populated urban areas. Outbreaks of Cholera and other serious diseases, through poor sanitation, damp conditions and lack of ventilation forced the Government to take action.

Building control therefore took on the greater role of Health and Safety through the first Public Health Act in 1875. This Act underwent two major revisions in 1936 and 1961, leading to the introduction of the first set of national building standards, The Building Regulations 1965.

Today's regulations are made under The Building Act 1984. The Regulations are constantly reviewed in line with the growing demand for better, safer buildings and any changes thought necessary are brought into operation after consultation with all interested parties.

This has led to several amendments since 1992, the emphasis in more recent years being on:

  • Increases in thermal insulation requirements to conserve energy and reduce global warming;
  • Continuous improvements in the provision of access and facilities for people with disabilities; and 
  • a more comprehensive, one stop approach to fire safety requirements.

Constant changes and rising standards demand that Building Control officers be up to date with current thinking, requirements and procedures. To enable this to be achieved a staff training strategy is in place which ensures continuing professional development (CPD) training is provided and undertaken.

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Last Updated: 29.05.2008 at 10:48

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