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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentAuthorandyman99
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2018
    Is it the purpose of these drawings to enable you to build a house or have I misunderstood their role?
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2018
    Well, they enable you to build a house, but they are not specifically "construction drawings"

    I would view them as sufficiently detailed that a competent contractor can put together a detailed price and understand they nature of the works required

    They would almost certainly be supplemented by specific details (where required) and possibly by other contractors detailed drawings (a timber frame, for example or structural engineers details of a particular transfer structure or lintel)

    Like everything in life, the quality and content of buiding regs drawings is variable


    Bear in mind the legal purpose of these drawings - you are proving to the local authority that your intended means of construction will satisfy the laws around building (i.e. around electrical installations or structural stability).

    They aren't specifically required or intended for pricing (a QS can cost off a scribble if the notes are good enough, but as barney says the quality will vary with the information available).

    In most cases they double-up as the basis of costing and construction drawings, but there can be differences between these.

    An example that springs to mind is that of staircase construction. The engineers I've worked with will often size beams etc. to satisfy building regs. Later on, the contractor finds a stair fabricator who has a tested system that they can prove will meet the same performance with smaller or different format steels. Thus what gets built (and bought) may not be exactly what was on the Building Regs drawings, but both satisfy the requirements in their own way.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2018
    Are you all referring to "standard" details or do you mean the custom drawings submitted with an application?
    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2018 edited
    The building regulation drawings are used by a building inspector engaged in a full plans style notification, to confirm that the building will be built in accordance with the regulations

    They additionally may be sufficiently detailed that they can provide a specification to the contractor. This helps both parties define “done” and if necessary, prove who is right when it is claimed something is wrong; the building either conforms to the plans (customer is wrong) or doesn’t (builder is wrong)

    I’d recommend getting detailed plans drawn up for any construction where you’re not sure of the ability of the contractor to deliver exactly what you want. Whether they form building inspection plans or not is up to you, as there is another route to building small scale projects to the satisfaction of building control, called a building notice; in this mode, you have the work done, it is inspected and if wrong in the inspectors opinion, must be re-done. It’s cheaper in that no plans are required but relies on the contractor/your competence.

    Most people opt for full plans on any reasonable scale (building a house, though I did mine on building notice only), I think. With a full plans route a building may be wrong, but so long as it complies with full plans passed by the building control department (their mistake) they can’t take issue. It’s also a lot easier to change a wall thickness on paper than it is to pull it down and build it again

    Plans=good :)
    • CommentAuthorandyman99
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2018
    So specifically, would you expect detailed measurements? Currently our builder is building according to a couple of measurements that I supplied. I've given the same measurements to the person doing the drawings. I know they are correct and he has built foundations and dwarf walls to DPC based on them and based on a construction agreed by the timber frame supplier and the structural engineer. However we need a few more measurements to construct the TF correctly. Its really only a rectangular box with a couple of internal walls, but surely the BR drawings should specify these? The drawings he is supplying are well done, well annotated and I'm sure accurate, but its 1/100 scale with notes that say do not scale from these drawings. How do you build with that?
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2018
    "Do not scale from this drawing" is pretty usual - it is usually followed by "Use figured dimensions only" - and the relevant dims are shown on the drawing.

    If the dims aren't shown, then you need a setting out drawing - which party should have provided that is your dilemma.

    I'd imagine the TF supplier has his own construction drawing with all of his dims stated - it should just be a case of mapping those to the foundation drawing (or vice versa)

    Contractually, it will depend on who you have appointed to do what. As above, BC will need sufficient information to determine what you are planning to build, that may not be sufficient to actually construct each and every detail however


    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018 edited
    Posted By: andyman99Is it the purpose of these drawings to enable you to build a house or have I misunderstood their role?

    No. They are to accompany a Building Control Application and are to show Building Control how the house will comply with the Building Regulations.

    They may or may not be adequate to actually build the house. For that Architects can also produce "Construction Drawings" which should contain the necessary details to build the house.

    In some a Structural Engineer may have to produce drawings and calculations to add to both sets. For example calculations to justify choice of a particular size of steel beam for the Building Regs drawings, and details of any joints for the construction drawings (eg enough detail to specify the beam to the fabricator).

    How many drawings you need will depend on the complexity of the design.
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018 edited
    In the end I have taken control of the construction drawings (and which are evolving into as built drawings). I also had to supplement the architect drawings with my own details for the independent BCO to sign off (it was taking too long for the architect to get it right unfortunately). I also ended up writing the spec/schedule for the builder as the standard cut and past text from the architect was not even close (it ended up being a 17 page document specific to my build).

    The engineer supplied RC details for the beams and slabs, the piler detailed the piles, Roof drawings and calcs by the roof truss suppliers, the window suppliers have indicated windows for fire escape and glass that needs to be laminated etc near stairs, the staircase supplier supplied drawings and confirmation stairs conform to building regs.

    I do rate my engineer - we came to an agreement that he would provide any calculations required by the BCO - from the usual stuff (walls, lintels, RC beams/slabs) and also stuff you may not expect such as surface water run-off storage and attenuation - if it requires numbers he will produce some calcs that the BCO can sign off on.

    I helps that I have engaged the engineer, BCO, Piler, roof, window and staircase supplier etc directly - bypassing the architect and the builder - it means that all the information comes to me - I can check it and pass onto the BCO. It is alot of work - but it's my house and I want it done right. (I have an engineering background - I don't think there is a calculation that I have not checked myself).
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018
    Posted By: goodevansI helps that I have engaged the engineer, BCO, Piler, roof, window and staircase supplier etc directly - bypassing the architect and the builder

    Yes, I did that too and can also recommend it. It does lead to some issues, because you're the piggy in the middle between architect and engineer, for example, but on balance it worked out better.

    We were fortunate that our architect responded quickly when we needed another detail drawing, so I still don't know how to use a CAD system!
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