Spray Foam Insulation – which Building Regulations apply in the UK?

by | Jul 19, 2022

Read Time: 5 minutes

Introduction

If you are involved in a roof insulation project in any capacity i.e. whether you are a home owner, designer, manufacturer, builder, installer, surveyor/inspector etc, a sound knowledge/understanding of the applicable building regulations is a must. In this article, we will discuss what regulations apply to building in general and then specifically to roof insulation under the following headings:

Building Regulations in the UK and Ireland are statutory instructions or regulations that seek to ensure that policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out for every building design, construction and alterations. Local Governments are responsible for the relevant Building regulation legislation and administration, designed to protect people’s health, safety and welfare.

What are Building Regulations in general and what bodies are responsible for their administration?

Building Regulations in the UK and Ireland are statutory instructions or regulations that seek to ensure that policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out for every building design, construction and alterations. Local Governments are responsible for the relevant Building regulation legislation and administration, designed to protect people’s health, safety and welfare.

What is covered in these Building Regulations?

In England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland Building regulations are designated by a letter (Part A, Part B, Part C etc) and they cover aspects such as:

  • workmanship
  • adequate materials
  • structures
  • waterproofing
  • fire
  • ventilation
  • drainage
  • sound and energy.

Each of these approved documents are legally binding and set out the minimum appropriate standard requirement for compliance with the Building Regulations and the common methods and materials to achieve these.

The legal term ‘building work’ generally includes:

  • building new buildings
  • altering buildings
  • changing what a building is used for
  • for polyurethanes spray foam insulation, it covers areas such as ‘Renovation of thermal elements’ for roofs, floors and external walls.

Who is responsible for meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations?

All of the above works must be carried out in a manner that meets the requirements of the Building Regulations. It is the responsibility of those carrying out the building works such as the designers, builders and installers to obey these rules as minimum standards and not to work outside these technical requirements.

The approved documents set out what, in general situations, may be accepted as compliance with Building Regulations. However, Section 7 of the UK Building act states the following

Compliance or non-compliance with approved documents.

(1)A failure on the part of a person to comply with an approved document does not of itself render him liable to any civil or criminal proceedings; but if, in any proceedings whether civil or criminal, it is alleged that a person has at any time contravened a provision of building regulations:

(a) a failure to comply with a document that at that time was approved for the purposes of that provision may be relied upon as tending to establish liability, and

(b) proof of compliance with such a document may be relied on as tending to negative liability.”

It remains the responsibility of those undertaking the work to achieve compliance with the regulatory requirements.

Do Building Regulations cover Roof Construction?

Building Regulation approved documents in all countries makes reference to roof construction and the resistance to damage from interstitial condensation. In all cases, a roof will only comply with the Building Regulations if it is designed and constructed in accordance with Clause 12.4 of British Standard BS5250

https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/blog/Built-Environment-Blog/bs-5250-2021-management-of-moisture-in-buildings–code-of-practice/

For polyurethane spray foam insulation, this is particularly relevant in roof constructions and the appropriate use of ventilation.

Are there specific Regulations on how to Install Insulations for Cold and Warm Roof Applications?

British Standard BS5250: 2021 lays out specific rules and regulations on how to install insulations for cold and warm roof applications. In all situations, it is essential to install a ventilation void between a non-breathable roof underlay and any insulation type regardless of the insulation’s technical composition. Polyurethane spray foam insulations are not exempt and should comply with these design requirements, failure to do so could be seen as a breach of Building Regulation minimum standards.

How do ECON Polyurethanes ensure that our BASF open cell spray foam insulation product (ENERTITE) is installed in full accordance with all relevant building regulations?

Quality of the Raw Material: ENERTITE is manufactured by BASF and is one of a range of BASF’s construction polyurethanes. (BASF is the largest chemical producer in the world operating in more than 90 countries with six integrated production sites and 241 other production sites in Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas and Africa. Its headquarters are located in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has around 90,000 customers in nearly all sectors in almost every country in the world.) ENERTITE should always be installed by a BASF trained FOAM MASTER contractor to be BS 5250 Moisture Management compliant and is KIWA and NSAI certified. View the ENERTITE Certificates and Technical information here.

Quality of Installation: We train all our contractors (i.e. installers) in our BASF-approved contractors scheme, known as FOAM MASTERS. This ensures that contractors who install our products are fully trained and supported by our technical team. Contractors must attend courses at our training centre in BASF Alfreton, Derbyshire and on completion are included in our database of accredited installers and a photo identity card is issued. Once a trained FOAM MASTER, our technical team will help our contractor to ensure compliance with installation methodology and to offer advice on correct application and intricate interfacing with other construction elements. You can read more here.

Need more information?

Contact us for more information about any aspect of spray foam insulation on info@econ-pu.com

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