Building Regulations

NHBC Standards – 9 2 Drives, paths and landscaping


Chapter 9.2 This Chapter gives guidance on meeting the Technical Requirements and recommendations for private roads, shared private drives, private drives, car parking areas, paths and landscaping.

NHBC Standards do not cover aspects of health and safety relating to building operations and to the handling and use of certain building materials. Such matters are covered by statutory requirements

This version of the Standards has been updated to include the Amendments to the Standards April 2004. The following changes reflect the experience of NHBC staff as well as house builders.

Access for vehicles and pedestrians

Specifications in Appendix 9.2-B should help prevent deterioration of the surface caused by on-the-spot turning of cars with power steering.  Difference in vehicle ground clearance requirements are catered for by transition lengths in certain drives to avoid cars with lower clearance ‘bottoming out’. Where a road or shared private drive is not going to be adopted, specifications have now been introduced to cater for the different types of traffic. (NHBC Standards Extra, Issue 29, April 2004).

Access around the home

Existing requirements for paths around the home have generally been shown to be robust.  Homeowners expect to have access around the property, to get to the kitchen door or to take the wheelie bin from the rear of the property to the front gate.  Paths and any steps need to be safe and if necessary, guarded where the ground level adjacent to the it could be a hazard. (NHBC Standards Extra, Issue 29, April 2004).

Garden Areas

These are now described as the land within the property boundary extending up to 20m from the habitable part of the home. Therefore, except for houses with very large plots, the whole garden will come within the Standard.  Within the 20m garden area, the requirements are similar to existing requirements, i.e. that it should be stable and reasonably accessible.  For the large plot situation, builders will not be responsible for paddocks and woodlands which they have not touched during the construction of the dwelling. (NHBC Standards Extra, Issue 29, April 2004).


The ‘3m area’ around the home where waterlogging should not occur has been retained.  It is important that homeowners are able to access the refuse bin position, patio areas or the rotary clothes line facility without getting wet feet.

There is guidance on how compaction on ground around the home during construction can be alleviated. (NHBC Standards Extra, Issue 29, April 2004).


It is reasonable for homeowners to expect that the garden area will be suitable for cultivation even if they only intend to create a lawn.  Some sites may have little existing topsoil and brownfield sites may be devoid of topsoil altogether.  The opportunity has been taken to require 100mm of topsoil to all garden areas which is now possible that garden areas have been defined.  Any topsoil needs to be clean and free from contaminants which could be a hazard. (NHBC Standards Extra, Issue 29, April 2004).

Timber decking

The popularity of timber decking has been recognised and clauses giving suitable specification have been incorporated in the chapter. (NHBC Standards Extra, Issue 29, April 2004).

Previous versions of the standards can be accessed in the Archive section (below).

Section 9.2 Contents


  • Design Standard
  • Provision of access
  • Freestanding walls and retaining structures
  • Garden areas
  • Landscaping
  • Provision of information


  • Materials standards
  • Concrete
  • All materials


  • Sitework standards
  • Ground stability
  • Foundations and construction
  • Freestanding walls and retaining structures
  • Garden areas
  • Landscaping


  • Statutory references


  • Construction details of paved areas




  • Chapter 9.2 (2003)
  • Amendments to the Standards (2003)

Source: NHBC Standards

            April 2004

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