The government aims to extend the area of contaminated land covered under the regulation from the ground under the building to any land associated with a building, such as a garden.
The government also proposes to amend rules covering the change of use of a building to a residential purpose. Barns or warehouse conversions will now have to include protection against contaminants, which is not currently required. Under the proposal, all changes of building use to residential purposes will be covered under the regulations.
The proposals include guidance on dealing with climate change and advice on subsoil drainage to reduce the effects of moisture on buildings.
Building Regulations minister Christopher Leslie said at the launch of the proposals on Tuesday: "The cost to the building trade of better moisture resistant materials is between £5 and £20 a house."
The consultation paper can be downloaded from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website at www.safety.odpm.gov.uk/bregs/conindex.htm.