Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Science Library - Construction and Civil Engineering

The Science Library provides a wide range of resources on construction and civil engineering, ranging from simple DIY tasks to large scale engineering projects. We have copies of the Building Regulations Approved Documents. We aim to provide key documents for both industry and for the individual undertaking home maintenance.

Subject areas covered

To make it easier to locate material, the library uses the Dewey Classification system. The main classification numbers for Construction are:-

624 Civil Engineering
625 Engineering of railroads, roads and highways
627 Hydraulic Engineering including waterways, ports and dams
628 Sanitary and Municipal Engineering

690 Building construction
691 Building materials
692 Planning, estimating and contracting
694 Carpentry
695 Roofing
696 Utilities including plumbing
697 Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning
698 Painting and decorating

Resources on Architecture and Town Planning can be found in the Arts, Languages and Literature Library situated on the 3rd floor of the Central Library.

Building regulations

The Building Regulations are made under the powers of the Building Act 1984. They ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings by providing functional requirements for building design and construction. The regulations also promote energy efficiency in buildings and contribute to meeting the needs of disabled people. Practical guidance on how to comply with the Building Regulations are contained in a series of 'Approved Documents'. The Science Library holds a complete collection of current 'Approved Documents' and also has several publications offering guidance on the interpretation of the regulations. The Building Regulations can also be downloaded free of charge from www.communities.gov.uk

Planning Application

We are frequently asked about whether or not planning permission is needed before carrying out building work. These enquiries are best dealt with by contacting the Birmingham City Council planning department, Planning Direct.
You may also find the Government site Planning Portal useful.

You can view the planning applications submitted to Birmingham City Council online at Birmingham City Council Online Planning Register. You will be able to view current applications and those registered and decided before January 1991.

British Standards - Updated April 2012

We regret that access to the current and to the historic set on standards from British Standards Institution (referred to as BSOL) had been suspended in Birmingham Library and Archive Services until further notice. This is due to operational difficulties with delivering the on-line service during the current transformation and transition processes.

BSOL access will return in the medium future and notices will appear on this webpage.

BRE Publications

The Science Library holds copies of publications produced by the BRE (Building Research Establishment. These include BRE Digests and Information Papers.


The Science Library holds a wide range of journals covering the subjects of Construction and Civil Engineering. Current titles include:

Building Ask at floor 4 counter
Building Design Open Shelves
Construction News Open Shelves
New Civil Engineer Open Shelves
Property Week Open Shelves
Structural Engineer Open Shelves
Surveyor Open Shelves
Woodworker Open Shelves

We also hold back issues of many of the titles. Significant holdings include:
The Builder, vol 1, 1843 - present
The Surveyor, vol. 35, 1909 - present
Structural Engineer, vol.1, 1923 - present

Related Journals: Journals on Architecture and Town Planning can be found in the Arts, Languages and Literature Library.
Recommended Websites

These are a few websites we think you may find useful.

Please note, we are not responsible for the content of other organisations websites.

The Department for Communities and Local Government.
This department was created in May 2006 and is responsible for housing, urban regeneration and planning.


Birmingham City Council Planning department web page.

Planning Direct

Planning Portal. Government planning information website that provides access to the Building Regulations Approved Documents.


Birmingham City Council Planning Application Register.
Provides access to applications registered and decided from January 1991 to present.


Birmingham City Council Homeworks.
This webpage provides access to a range of downloadable information guides on aspects of home improvement.


Building Research Establishment.
The BRE provide expertise on buildings, construction, energy, environment, fire and risk.


The Institution of Structural Engineers.


The Institution of Civil Engineers.


Construction Industry Training Board.
The CITB site provides information on education and training for the building/construction sector.


Construction Industry Council. The website of the representative forum for professional bodies, research organisations and specialist businesses in the construction industry.


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. (RICS)


Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.


Building - online. Website of the popular building journal.


Library Catalogue
Science Library