Kitchens and bathrooms

Building Regulations: Need for additional ventilation

Each new room in a house should have adequate ventilation for general health reasons. The type of room will determine how much ventilation is required.

When inserting a new internal wall care should be taken not to make any other matters, such as ventilation, worse. If a new room is being created as a result of the addition of an internal wall then care should also be taken to ensure that the existing room is ventilated adequately. The general rules for ventilating a room are:

Purge - this is achieved by opening the window. The opening should have a typical area of at least 1/20th of the floor area of the room served, unless it is a bathroom which can be any openable size.

Whole building - this is also known as trickle ventilation which can be incorporated in to the head of the window framework, or by some other means. The area varies on the type of room:

  • habitable room - 5,000 mm² equivalent area
  • kitchen, utility, bathroom (with or without toilet) - 2,500 mm² equivalent area

Both of these forms of ventilation are normally required, however alternative approaches to ventilation may also be acceptable, subject to agreement with the building control body.

Extract ventilation

Any new kitchen, bathroom (or shower room), utility room or toilet should be provided with a means of extract ventilation to reduce condensation and remove smells.

For toilets only, ‘purge ventilation’ (an opening window/door on an external wall) meeting the requirements specified in Appendix 2 of ‘Approved Document F - Ventilation’ can instead be used to provide ventilation if security is not an issue.

If you are refurbishing a kitchen or bathroom, you will need to ensure that any existing extract ventilation is retained or replaced. If there is no existing ventilation system, you need not provide one (though you can if you wish).

Any extract ventilation system you install should meet the requirements specified in ‘Approved Document F - Ventilation’.