Skip to main content

Swifts v Building Regulations (Q+A) G#20210

By 3 January 2019February 20th, 2019Blog, Code, Conversation, Encyclopaedia, Q&A
Built-In Bird Box Drawing

Swifts v Building Regulations Q+A

GBE > Encyclopaedia > Code > Q&A > G#14864

Swifts v Building Regulations Q+A

Stephen Fitt suggested I write to you.

I spend a fair amount of time designing nest boxes for Swifts, which also turn out to be popular with House Sparrows.

Some of them end up as products and others are custom solutions.

Some are external, fitted to the outside of a building and others are internal: Swift bricks and the like.

I recently strolled around a building development where Swift bricks had been conditioned.

Apart from the fact that less than half of the conditioned nest boxes had been installed, I looked at the ones that had been installed and thought we must be able to do better than this.

I have some draft designs, and have started to build some prototypes.

The aim is to produce something that satisfies the following:

  • Simple as possible for the bricklayer
  • Unobtrusive in the wall
  • Suitable for both retrofit and for new build, though the new build market would be somewhat larger than the retrofit market.
  • Accepted by Swifts and Sparrows.

Back in 2013, I built some prototypes and installed 6 of them under people’s eaves – since then all 6 have been occupied by sparrows or swifts – 3 pairs of Swifts.

My target would be for boxes high up in a gable, near the roofline, embedded in the wall but also intruding into the cavity but not penetrating the inner leaf.

I do not think my ideas would push the boundaries beyond what accepted products do

e.g. Schwegler, Ibstock, Manthorpe and CJ/Vivara pro

However, I am not up to speed as much as I would like about building regulations relating to Swift boxes embedded in walls.

Swifts v Building Regulations Q&A

Q1 Can you please point me at the appropriate regulations.

A1 Building Regulations Approved Documents can be found on the Planning Portal website

A2 Which apply?

  • Part A – Structure
Do not make the wall any weaker by making the hole and fitting the box
    • Consider making the box of building materials like brick or block
    • Consider additional wall ties around the box, like those around windows and doors,
    • Do not place adjacent to lateral restraint ties between roof and wall, ceiling and wall and floor and wall; place boxes between them
  • Part B – Fire Safety
  • No issues
  • If the attic is an occupied, insulated and heated space
    • then the box must not penetrate the insulation and reduce its performance
  • Do not make thermal bridges through the wall/insulation
    • e.g. cavity closer or block reveal next to box
  • Do not make air gaps enabling air leakage,
    • allowing heat out or cold in, or condensation to occur, during the heating season
  • Part M – Access to and use of buildings
Not relevant
  • Part N – Glazing Safety (Withdrawn)
Not relevant
    • If you are adding viewing windows into box then use plastic or toughened glass
  • Part P – Electrical Safety
If you added a video camera into the box and connecting to services this could apply
    • Do not install lights in vicinity of bat and bird box entries, or risk predation by other birds
  • Part Q – Security
If the hole you make for the box could be used to burgle the house this might apply
  • Part R – Physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks.
Not relevant
    • Precautionary Principle: Avoid electromagnetic radiation, place boxes well away
  • Regulation 7 – Materials and workmanship
Products must be ‘proper materials’ (BSI Kitemark, BBA Certificate, etc.)
    • Until there is a BS or CEN or even a BSI PAS then this won’t apply yet
    • I heard conversations are being had about developing a PAS

© GBE NGS ASWS BrianMurphy aka BrianSpecMan
19th December 2018 – 20th February 2019

Swifts v Building Regulations Q+A

n80-cambridge-swiftboxspeccover2p-a07brm261116cambridge swift box working drawing

Built-In Bird Box Front IMG_0545

Built-In Bird Box Front

Built-In Bird Box Back IMG_0542

Built-In Bird Box Back

Built-In Bird Box Drawing

© GBE NGS ASWS BrianMurphy aka BrianSpecMan
25th January 2017 – 3rd January 2019

Swifts v Building Regulations Q+A
See Also:



  • S1, S2, etc. Statement No. 1, etc.
  • O1, O2, etc. Observation No.1, etc.
  • Q1, Q2, etc. Question No. 1, etc.
  • A1, A2, etc. Answer No.1, etc.


GBE Checklist


GBE Lectures

GBE Shop

GBE Defects

GBE Issue Papers

GBE Brainstorms

GBE Products

GBS Robust Specification

GBE Accessories

GBE Systems

GBE Materials

GBE Manufacturers

  • CJ
  • Ibstock
  • Manthorpe
  • Vivara Pro
  • Schwegler

GBE Suppliers

GBE Installers

© GBE NGS ASWS BrianMurphy aka BrianSpecMan
25th January 2017 – 3rd January 2019

Template: GBE Question & Answer (Template) Q#14864

Leave a Reply