How to get it right: Wheelie bins and the building regulations

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Wheelie bins and Building Regulations Part H

Whether they're for waste, recyclables, gardens or glass, the rise of the wheelie bin is causing issues of its own. More space to store the wheelie bins is needed but did you know that the requirements are contained in the Building Regs?

You could be excused for thinking that Building Regulations Part H and its Approved Document was just about drainage, but it also covers solid waste storage.

H6         (1) Adequate provision shall be made for storage of solid waste.

             (2) Adequate means of access shall be provided:

                      (a) For people in the building to the place of storage; and

                      (b) From the place of storage to a collection point (where one has been specified by the waste collection authority) or to a street (where no collection point has been specified).

Within the Approved Document you can find guidance on how this could be achieved. For low rise developments (houses, bungalows and flats up to four floors) you need to provide:

Space for the storage of containers for separated waste with a combined capacity of 0.25m³ per dwelling. (This might change following consultation with the waste collection authority when collections are less frequent than once per week). A wheelie bin measuring 500mm x 500mm x 1m high would give 0.25m3.

Any dwelling should have access to a location where at least two movable individual or communal waste containers can be stored.

An area of 1.2m x 1.2m for each dwelling for storage of waste containers and where separate storage areas are provided.

Where communal storage areas are provided, space requirements should be determined in consultation with the waste collection authority.

Householders shouldn’t need to carry refuse more than 30m to storage areas and these should be within 25m of any waste collection point specified by the waste collection authority.

The location of waste containers should be sited so that they don’t have to be taken through a building to be emptied, unless it's a porch, garage, car port or other open covered space.  This applies only to new buildings except that extensions or conversions shouldn't remove such a facility where one already exists.

External storage areas for waste containers should be away from windows and ventilators and preferably be in shade or under shelter. Storage areas should not interfere with pedestrian or vehicle access to buildings.

The last point is probably the most contentious as it relies solely on the consideration of those moving the bins to an emptying point and taking them back to their storage space afterwards.

Careful design in line with the guidance in Approved Doc H can minimise these issues.


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the user’s professional judgement. It is the responsibility of the dutyholder or person carrying out the work to ensure compliance with relevant building regulations or applicable technical standards.



Submitted 3 years 9 months ago

Many side extensions we design are built tight to boundaries cutting off any access for waste bins, we always make full plans applications and this has never been addressed by building control. I would be happy to advise clients of the requirement and design accordingly if building control were consistent in applying this in their plans check process, but have little faith this will happen.

Bin access

Submitted 1 year 9 months ago

If planning have approved a side extension that cuts off access for bins to the rear then it can be built as per planning requirements. May properties keep bins in their front gardens. As long as the bin is within a 30m drag distance of the house, it complies with building regulations.

Webmaster note

Submitted 3 years 9 months ago

All comments posted at an earlier date than this one have been transferred from our old website.

Wheelie Bins In My Home

Submitted 3 years 5 months ago

Only when I moved into my private rented home did I realise My wheelie bins were in the house and no refuse collection point for the council. Its making me ill and the letting agent and landlord don't care.

Wheeli bins rule

Submitted 5 months 4 weeks ago

Where should each household put there bins if its 4xin a block and have there own
Garden as they all put there bins outside against the wall of my dwelling

LABC response

Submitted 5 months 3 weeks ago


Thank you for your comments on our article. LABC would not be able to advise on specific waste disposal arrangements in existing properties. I would advise that you should contact your Local Authority/ Waste collection authority in regard to the siting of the bins so that all the residents in the block understand where they should be placed for collection.

LABC team

Bike shed turned into bin shed.

Submitted 5 months ago

Hi, I have lived in a coach house flat for 6+ years the housing association has changed the bike shed which is right next to the rear of my property my living room windows open onto its roof into a bin store for 6 flats. The bins have been moved from behind the flats where there are no windows. The bins are always overflowing and I am very worried how I will manage in the summer to keep my property ventilated with these bins right outside the awful smell and flies etc. Do you know if they have the right to do this. I have contacted the local council and the housing association and am waiting to hear back. Many thanks.

LABC response

Submitted 4 months 3 weeks ago


Thank you for your enquiry. LABC is a membership organisation, providing advice and support to its member local authorities around England and Wales. As a result, LABC would not be able to advise on specific waste disposal arrangements as this is a matter for the local council and dependent on many factors related to the particular site.

It sounds like you have done the right thing in this circumstance and contacted the local authority regarding your situation, they should be able to consider the individual circumstances.

LABC team

Guidance or advice on improving our flats bin storage enclosure

Submitted 5 months ago

I'd be grateful if I could get some guidance or advice on whom to chat with about a project we'd like to initiate at our block of flats to improve the communal bin storage area.

The query I have is, can we fit the bins on the property boundary and permit access to both the refuse depositors and collectors from either side of the property boundary?

LABC response

Submitted 4 months 3 weeks ago


Thank you for your enquiry. LABC would not be able to advise on specific waste disposal arrangements, we suggest that you contact your waste collection authority as well as your local authority planning and building control departments with reference to the positioning of the bins. It might also be that there are restrictions within your property contract on where bins can be positioned, and you may wish to take legal advice on this matter.

You can find the contact details of the relevant local authority (including waste collection authority) by entering your postcode in the search box of the government website ‘Find your local council’:

LABC team

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