Are you developing property?
A quick guide to your legal responsibilities as a client under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007
The following guidance may be added to your application if you are carrying out work to your roof space:
All bat species are protected under schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, and also under Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2010. It is an offence to: intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or capture (take) bats; intentionally or recklessly disturb bats (whether in a roost or not); or damage, destroy or obstruct access to bat roosts.
If you think that bats may be using your property or you discover a bat whilst development work is being undertaken, stop the work immediately and contact the National Bat Helpline on 0845 1300 228.
Solar Panel Guidence
Radon- The Facts
What is Radon?
Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas. It comes from the radioactive decay of radium, which in turn comes from the radioactive decay of uranium found in small quantities in all soils and rocks, although the amount varies from place to place. It is particularly prevalent in granite and limestone areas but not exclusively so. Radon levels vary not only between different parts of the country but even between neighbouring buildings. Radon in the soil and rocks mixes with air and rises to the surface where it is quickly diluted in the atmosphere. Concentrations in the open air are very low. However, radon that enters enclosed spaces such as buildings, can reach relatively high concentrations in some circumstances. Sediments, such as those that occur in the Forest of Dean can stop radon so its occurrence is less of a problem than those where rocks are evident, i.e. Cornwall for example.
Where is radon a problem?
The principle areas of the country in which radon is a problem are the granite areas of Devon and Cornwall and the limestone areas of Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, North Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, and Somerset. However, there are many other areas in England and Wales affected by radon and this includes the Forest of Dean.
What are the dangers?
The main danger from high radon exposure is the increased risk of lung cancer.
What is the problem?
When radon decays it forms tiny radioactive particles which may be breathed into the lungs. Radiation from these particles can cause lung cancer which may take many years to develop. In addition, smoking and exposure to radon are known to work together to greatly increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
How does radon enter a building?
The floors and walls of dwellings contain many small cracks and gaps formed during and after construction. Radon from the ground is drawn into the building through these cracks and gaps because the atmospheric pressure inside the building is usually slightly lower than the pressure in the underlying soil. This small pressure difference is caused by the stack (or chimney) effect of heat in the building and by the effects of wind.
Do solid concrete floors offer greater protection against radon than timber floors?
There is no clear answer to this, radon can enter a house through cracks and gaps in and around both concrete and timber floors. Whilst it might appear that a timber floor will be more leaky, they also have a ventilated void below to prevent timber rot, which can help to dilute radon.
I live in a radon affected area and the house I live in is built of local rock will this influence the radon level in my house?
The main source of radon is the ground below the home. Stonewalls and fireplaces do not emit much radon.
My house has a stone fireplace is this the cause of my radon problem? The main source of radon is the ground below the home, stone fireplaces do not emit much radon
PROTECTION OF NEW DWELLINGS, EXTENSIONS AND CONVERSIONS
Radon protection applies to new dwellings, extensions, and any changes of use to a residential or sleeping use
Where can I get information on radon protection for new dwellings?
The current requirements and technical solutions are contained in BRE Report BR211 Radon: Guidance on Protective measures for new dwellings which can be obtained from: http://www.bre.co.uk/radon/protect.html.
Building Control have told me that I need a radon site report, where do get one from?
A Radon Protection Measures geological assessment can be obtained from the British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG. Telephone 0115 936 3143, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For homes with a full postal address including a post code then you can obtain a Radon Risk Report (£3.00 + vat) online from UKradon.
For homes without postcodes you can obtain a report from GeoReports.
Building Control has told me I need to: install basic radon protection what do I have to do?
You will need to provide a radon barrier across the footprint of the building.
Building Control have told me I need to install full radon protection what do I have to do?
You will need to provide a radon barrier across the footprint of the building and provision for future sub floor depressurisation or pressurisation by providing underfloor ventilation to suspended concrete floors or a radon sump.
What is a radon sump in a new building?
A radon sump is a small void, about the size of a bucket, constructed beneath a floor slab. Typically formed using bricks and a paving slab or a prefabricated sump unit the sump is linked to the outside of the building by a length of pipe, which is then capped. If an elevated radon level is measured on completion of the building the cap can be removed and a fan attached to reduce radon levels.
Do I need to provide a fan and a sump during construction?
Only the sump needs to be installed during construction, it is up to the occupier to install the fan later if the house is found to have an elevated radon level.
I am up to first floor level with the brickwork and have now been told that I need to provide radon protection what can I do?
In-situ concrete floor: It is too late to provide a radon barrier within the concrete floor. However you could try to seal floor to wall joints with a gun-applied sealant prior to installing skirtings. This will not provide the protection of a full barrier but should help to reduce radon entry. You can also provide a sump. To confirm whether or not the sump needs to be activated the house should be tested on occupation.
Suspended beam and block concrete floor: A barrier could be laid across the floor and sealed to the walls with a gun-applied sealant prior to installing the floor topping. This will not provide the same effectiveness as a full barrier but should help to reduce radon entry. In addition make sure that the underfloor void is well ventilated. The house should be tested on occupation and if found to have an elevated radon level a fan installed to further ventilate the underfloor void.
I have nearly completed construction of a new house and now Building
Control have told me that I need to provide radon protection.
It is too late to provide a radon barrier within the floor the only realistic option is to test the completed house on occupation. if an elevated radon level is found the builder should install appropriate remedial measures - probably either a sump system (with the sump excavated through the external wall from outside), or increased ventilation to a subfloor void.
Do extensions have to incorporate radon protection?
The guidance contained within BRE Report BR211 Radon: Guidance on Protective measures for new dwellings applies to all extensions to dwellings except where an exemption is provided in Schedule 2 of the Building Regulations.
Do I need to obtain a geological assessment for an extension?
There is little benefit to be gained by obtaining a geological assessment of sites in light grey squares in Annex B, as the radon barrier is unlikely to cost more than the assessment.
Do I need to provide full radon protection in my extension?
The necessity of providing full radon protection (radon barrier and sump) is a matter of judgement for the Building Control Body. Large extensions that are designed to provide only ancillary accommodation may be re-arranged in the future to provide living accommodation. The size of the extension may be an indicator. If the extension is less than half the ground floor area of the existing house or 30m2, whichever is smaller, it could be considered to be relatively small. However, if the accommodation is designed as habitable space in the first instance radon protection should be provided at the appropriate level unless it is considered that full protection is not of significant benefit in which case dispensation under Regulation 8 could be considered.
My extension is very small do I need to include full radon protection? Extensions with a ground floor area of more than half the ground floor area of the existing house or 30m2, whichever is the lesser, should have full radon protection if the house is in a dark brown square in Annex A or if a geological assessment indicates that full protection is advisable.
My extension is very small do I need to include full radon protection?
If the extension is only to be used as a porch, utility room or cloakroom/ shower room occupiers are unlikely to spend much time in these parts of their home. In these circumstances it may be possible to set aside full radon protection if it does not exceed the ground floor area criteria but this is a matter of judgement for the Building Control Body. In such a case there may be no need to obtain a geological assessment or to provide a sump, as it would be of marginal benefit when considered with the risk to the whole of the house.
How can I seal the joint between the new extension and original building?
One option is to cut a chase in the existing wall and then to tuck and seal the radon barrier into the chase. Whilst this is probably the best approach, other methods of joint sealing maybe be used e.g. bathroom sealant or other flexible filler.
If my house does not have a radon problem do I need to provide radon protection within the extension?
If a three month test result shows that radon levels in the home are well below the action level radon protective measures may be omitted from the extension. But if the result exceeds the recommended action level of 200 Bq/m3 appropriate protection measures should be installed within the extension and radon reduction measures provided in the existing part of the house.
The Building Control Surveyor has told me to provide radon protective measures in the barn that I am converting, what can I do?
If you are installing a new concrete ground floor you can install a radon barrier within the floor. Whilst the barrier will protect the bulk floor area radon could bypass the barrier and enter through the joint between the floor and wall. You could try to seal this joint using a gun-applied sealant. Even then radon might still enter via the old walls. As a consequence it is advisable to also provide a sump beneath the new floor so that if it proves necessary later a fan can be fitted to lower the radon level.
REDUCING RADON LEVELS IN EXISTING BUILDINGS
For further information on this or any of the above, please go to the BRE radon website at: http://www.bre.co.uk/radon/protect.html.
A RANGE OF PRACTICAL AND COST EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS
A range of practical and cost effective solutions have been developed by the Building Research Establishment to help reduce radon levels and to prevent radon entry into the building. These details can be obtained from their web site: http://www.bre.co.uk/radon/protect.html
If you need any further help or advice please contact building control on 01594 812352, or if you want to speak to the Health Protection Agency about radon please phone the radon hotline: 01235 831600.
Changes relating to building close to/over public sewers and new/indirect connections to public sewers
Following the implementation of the Private Sewers Transfer Regulations 2011, persons proposing to make a new direct or indirect drainage connection to a public sewer or build over or carry out any works within 3 meters of a public sewer are reminded that it is now their responsibility to consult with the relevant sewerage provider and obtain any permission that may be required and ensure the sewer pipe and systems are protected in accordance with the sewerage provider’s requirements.
Please note that Building Control no longer check applications against the relevant water authorities sewer plans and this information is now contained on all applications forms and Approval Certification.
A sewer which is subject to these regulations will typically carry waste water from more than one property and communicate it to a public sewer.
Further information on the implementation of the Private Sewers Transfer Regulations is available from: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/water/sewage/sewers and www.water.org.uk/home/policy/private-sewer-
Sewerage providers contact details:
Severn Trent: Telephone: 01902 793755, Email: email@example.com
Welsh Water: Telephone: 0800 9172652, Email: ndcplanning.@dwrcmru.com