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Building Regulations Part F


Reading time: 9 minutes


What is Part F of the Building Regulations?

Building Regulation Part F relates to ventilation in all buildings, and Approved Document F states that, in England, ‘There shall be adequate means of ventilation provided for people in the building’. Ventilation should be quiet, efficient and help to reduce airborne pollution and condensation. Although the separate volumes cover both dwellings (vol 1) and non-dwellings (vol 2), there are exemptions. Part F1 of the document states that the rules don’t apply to a building or space within a building: 

  • Where people do not normally go

  • Which is used solely for storage

  • Garages


What types of ventilation does Building Regulation Part F cover?

Requirement F1 is the means of ventilation in any building. Both Volume 1 (dwellings) and Volume 2 (non dwellings) cover the following:

  • Extraction of water vapour and air pollutant extraction (such as in kitchens and bathrooms)

  • Supply a minimum level of outdoor air for occupants’ health

  • Offer rapid dilution of indoor air pollutants and dispersing of water vapour

  • Minimise the entry of external air pollutants

  • Produce low levels of noise

  • Offer easy access for maintenance

  • Provide protection from cold draughts


Volume 2 outlines, in addition:

  • The monitoring of air quality in specific types of occupiable rooms

  • Protection from rain

  • How measures must not significantly risk occupants’ health


Both volumes are split into 5 main sections:

  • Section 1: Ventilation provision

  • Section 2: Minimising the ingress of external pollutants

  • Section 3: Work on existing buildings

  • Section 4: Commissioning and providing information

  • Appendixes: Key terms, standards, checklists and CO2 monitoring


Each section sets out the criteria to be met for each area, including positioning, installation, ventilation rates, cross-ventilation, purge ventilation, natural ventilation, exhaust outlets, historic buildings, technical requirements, notification procedures and testing standards. Parts of Approved Document F overlap with Part B, Part JPart L, Part K, Part M and Part O of the Building Regulations.


What are the changes to Part F?

The latest version of Building Regulations Part F took effect on 15th June 2022, and separated Approved Document F into the two volumes. The new ‘uplift’ to the documents features newly updated information from the 2010 version - such as the new rule that when buildings are improved, extended or have a change of use the ventilation is no worse than before. The work must also meet requirements for ventilation of cookers, boilers, electrics, heat pumps and air conditioning.

Building Regulation Part F now recommends installing mechanical ventilation products, such as extractor fans for bathrooms and utility rooms, cooker hoods and vents for kitchens, plus ventilation grills and carbon monoxide detectors

Importantly, all new or replacement windows in homes should also have trickle vents fitted to help improve ventilation and reduce the risk of mould from condensation.

Note that HVAC regulations standards have been updated too, in relation to heat pumps.


What are the HVAC regulations UK?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and HVAC regulations in the UK relates to boilers, AC systems, ducts and vents and heat pumps. The minimum efficiency standards for heat pumps is increasing by 1.0 SEER to 15.0 SEER in 2023. Split-system heat pumps must also achieve a minimum of 8.8 HSPF.

There’s not currently a need for Building Regulation Approval to install air conditioning or heat pumps in a home, but the air con or heat pump unit must meet the relevant Building Regulations Approved Documents, HVAC regulations and electrical safety guidelines


What are the latest air conditioner wiring requirements in the UK?

To meet air conditioner wiring requirements, UK electrical safety rules state that air con systems need their own circuit, and all work must follow the Building Regulations criteria. It’s possible that you may need planning permission, depending on the size and location of the system. Always use a qualified AC installer who will adhere to Approved Document P as well as British electrical safety standards to observe the correct air conditioner wiring requirements.

Note that all air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kW must be regularly inspected by an approved energy assessor.


What are the new build air test requirements?

In 2006, new build Air Test requirements changed and new buildings in the UK are required to have Air Testing, as part of Approved Document L (conservation of fuel and power). New build air test requirements - also known as Air Permeability Testing, Air Tightness Testing, Air Pressure Testing and Air Leakage Testing - calculates the lost air from a building, which affects its energy efficiency. Dwellings must have a result of less than (or equal to) 8m3/h/m2 at a pressure differential of 50 pascals. However, a balance is needed to meet the ventilation requirements to avoid condensation and mould.


Does Building Regulation Part F apply to extensions?

Extensions, renovations, new builds and a change-of-purpose to a building must comply with Building Regulations, in order to receive Building Regulations Approval. Minor works must comply with the relevant requirements of the Building Regulations, but the building control body does not need to be notified, such as for minor repairs and replacing parts.

Building work must meet all relevant ventilation requirements of the Building Regulation Part F, following the correct procedures and meeting the technical performance requirements. Remember that it is often necessary to notify a building control body of planned building work before you begin the project. You can find out more about the latest updates to building regs on our dedicated Travis Perkins hub.


Disclaimer: Information displayed in this article is correct at the time of publication, but note that legislation changes periodically. Please refer to the latest publication of each approved article. The information contained on this page is intended as an overall introduction and is not intended as advice from a professional building control officer. The definition of ‘building work’ and when Building Regs approval is required is set out here. Travis Perkins aims to avoid, but accepts no liability, in the case that any information stated is out of date. Always consult the approved local authority building control team when considering any exemptions, and before undertaking any work.