The Building Regulations stem from powers that are set out in the Building Act 1984 and apply in England and Wales. The current edition is referenced as The Building Regulations 2000 (as amended).
The purpose of the Building Regulations is to ensure overall health and safety of people by maintaining general access to, within and around buildings. They also ensure energy efficiency, fuel conservation and prevent water wastage. They apply to the design and construction of buildings, particularly dwellings, and to the provision of services (such as electrical installations) within them. They will certainly almost always apply when:
• erecting or extending a building
• installing or modifying a service within a building that is designated a controlled service (i.e. an electrical, gas or water installation)
• carrying out an alteration that permanently or temporarily affects the ongoing compliance of the building as a whole with respect to structure, fire safety, access or energy efficiency
• altering the building to what would be defined as a material change of use (e.g. converting a non domestic building to a dwelling
Using a contractor registered on an ELECSA competent persons scheme means that they can self certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations. Via ELECSA they notify the local authority on behalf of the property owner and ensure that a building compliance certificate is sent out to the property owner. Given that it is the ultimate responsibility of the property owner to ensure that Building Regulations are met, using an ELECSA contractor can save considerable time, trouble and expense of having to notify the local authority themselves.