Building Regulations could include pictures and diagrams to help foreign builders, architects and householders interpret them, if suggestions by government advisers are followed through

The Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) is looking at including partly pictorial guides in Part L, the regulation that governs energy use in buildings. In part, these aim to aid workers who do not speak English as a first language.

Michael Finn, BRAC chairman, said: “This is a way of showing with fewer words how you can comply.” He said the idea would “certainly help” overseas workers, but could also help UK tradespeople to understand increasingly complex regulations. He said: “This is all going to get more complicated, unfortunately.”

Finn said BRAC had yet to decide if the guides would be supplementary or contained within existing guidance.

The pictures would be based on guides being developed by the Construction Products Association (CPA). Chris Derzypilskyj, technical policy adviser to the CPA, said he thought the system could improve compliance.

If you are not up on the approved documents, they can be quite daunting

Chris Derzypilskyj, CPA

He said: “If you are not up on the approved documents, they can be quite daunting and that’s where the inconsistencies come from and the problems we are encountering across the country.”

In a consultation on future changes to Building Regulations published last year, the government called for guides covering areas where “work is generally carried out by those who do not encounter the Building Regulations on a day-to-day basis”.

BRAC is a statutory committee, which means the government has to take its opinion into account. The committee is currently consulting on the changes to Part L, which will start in 2010.