Building is a troublesome business, and for as long as we have had urban life, we have had restrictions on what and how people can build. The oldest extant British regulation dates from 1189,
but building restrictions undoubtedly existed a millennium earlier under the Roman Empire. Unlike the planning system, which dates only to the middle of the twentieth century, building regulations played an indispensable role in all the great ages of British urbanism.
With support from Create Streets, Samuel Hughes, CPS Head of Housing, has authored this short briefing paper on recent building regulations which have had a negative impact on the quality and appeal of new build properties such as incentivising the building of extremely small windows with extremely high sills, such that people will not be able to look out of their windows if they are sitting down, in the name of health and safety or achieving climate goals.
The briefing outlines a number of these regulations and makes suggestions for how they could be improved, ensuring that England’s building regulations remain within the best tradition of liberal governance.