Building Regulations for Log Homes explained

Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK including log homes. There are exceptions to this such as our new mobile home range which are all built to BS3632:2015 Residential park homes specification. Other exceptions include uninhabited buildings such as our Woodland Shelters or Garden Cabins built under a permitted development.

Handcrafted log building is unlike conventional building methods and is not a run of the mill building method in the UK. For this reason we have developed our own systems, methods and details addressing each part of UK Building Regulations with regards to log homes so that you build a log home in the UK with confidence that it will comply to all current regulations.

Below is an outline of each part of the UK building regulations and a description of how BLC addresses it:

This covers the regulatory requirements for structural safety. Utilising log span tables produced by the International Log Builders Association along with the specific skills of our structural engineer we have detailed solutions to incorporate most design features into our log homes. All of our buildings superstructures are calculated for structural safety and integrity guaranteeing quality in the specification of materials and methods.

One of our most frequently asked questions is around the fire performance of log homes. There are studies which show that a log home performs very well in the case of fire. (See our resources page for more information). Due to the massive log construction and the tightness in the joins between the logs air cannot get around each individual log. The log wall will char on the outside. Irrespective of these studies we also apply an odourless, colourless flame retardant spray treatment to all internal timbers in our homes for extra peace of mind.

We recommend that a soil report or envirocheck report is conducted to provide information on flood risk, contamination and radon. This is a site specific requirement and so is the same for all buildings. Where necessary we build footings to include a radon barrier. To see if your site is located in a high radon area visit www.ukradon.org.

Roof ventilation is provided for in all of our construction details regardless of roof finish material and always includes the specification of a breathable roofing membrane. Proper fitting of the roofing material is guaranteed with suitable headlap/design considerations for the pitch of the roof.

Deals mostly with UF insulation which we do not specify or deal with. However, all substances used have a Material Safety Data Sheet available on site and all staff have adequate training in their use.

ALL of our internal stud walls are all acoustically insulated with 50mm of mineral wool. Intermediate floors are insulated with 100mm mineral wool as standard. All log walls are insulated with sheeps wool which is placed in the groove of each log. If a timber or other hard flooring is to be used on the first floor then joist caps and / or extra sound absorption methods are specified.

We design our buildings with an adequate number of opening windows to habitable rooms (min 5% of the floor area of the room) but trickle vents are generally excluded from our windows, instead we go for the option of windows which are capable of being locked adjar. This is because the trickle vents generally obscure the shrinkage gap and timber window surrounds.

We always specify suitable mechanical extraction for bathrooms and kitchens - as we generally build with a vaulted (raked) ceiling the extraction usually leaves the building through the roof rather than being ducted through a loft cavity and out of a wall.

We provide all water efficiency calculations to ensure that the fittings are not specified to overuse water and meet current standards. This includes the specification of low flow valves for taps and showers and a low volume baths. This is an area in which building regulations are getting tighter and is directly related to carbon reduction as the less water is used in a household the less water needs to be treated which is a high energy industrial activity. Optional extras available for water conservation include rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling.

Drainage can usually be assessed on site, any soakaway should be located at least 5m from the building and a percolation test undertaken to determine the soil infiltration rate.

BLC try to use local trades where possible and always use Gas Safe and HETAS engineers for installations of boilers and solid fuel appliances respectively. Carbon monoxide alarms are specified in all cases within the correct proximity to the appliance (1m-3m) - where possible this will be incorporated in a mains wired unit.

On many projects we manufacture handcrafted log staircases. All of our staircases are built within the guidelines of Part K. Where glazing is required in the design this will be toughened glass - for balustrading we use a minimum of 10mm glass.

The insulation values of building elements, is one of the main focuses of this part in conjunction with the allowable area of windows and doors, the air permeability of the structure and the heating efficiency of boilers. The combination of these make up the input requirements for SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) and calculations for Carbon Emissions.

We are commonly asked how well our log walls perform as an insulator (what u-value we can achieve). This is an important factor when choosing how to construct your home as the materials used in its construction will directly affect how energy efficient the building will be. Currently our log walls achieve a u-value of around 0.54. From a design perspective we try to specify as much additional insulation as possible. This is generally placed in stud lining to the inside of the cabin around kitchens and bathrooms where a flat wall finish is required for tiling or for hanging cupboards. This compliments feature log walls throughout adding to the log home's aesthetics.

It is important to think about the energy performance of a building at the design stage. Building regulations are evolving, focusing more on sustainability, quality and efficiency. If regulations are taken into account from the onset of the project then the best compromise can be found between energy efficiency, practicality, aesthetics and budget.

Mostly taken care of at the design and specification stage, Part M provides for accessibility of the building. Most residential log homes are classed as a ‘visitable dwelling’ and the design will include an accessible approach with a level threshold, ground floor WC with an outward opening door and wider doors providing access to ground floor habitable rooms.

A qualified electrician carries out all electrical works and provides an electrical test certificate upon completion. We prefer to use local trades where possible not only to reduce cost but also for future maintenance of the building when required.

Secured by Design hardware is specified on all projects. Security is also considered during the design stage of the building to eliminate vulnerabilities where possible.

We pride ourselves on our level of workmanship and commitment to the overall successful delivery of our projects and meet or exceed all generally accepted good working practices.

All materials specified carry CE markings or are specified under the relevant British Standard where appropriate. All timber sourced is FSC or PEFC certified.

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