International comparative analysis of building regulations: an analytical tool

Jeroen van der Heijden (OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban, and Mobility Studies, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1756-1450

Publication date: 17 April 2009



The purpose of this paper is to introduce a tool for the international comparative analysis of regulatory regimes in the field of building regulation.


On the basis of a heuristic model drawn from regulatory literature, a typology of building regulatory regimes is introduced. Each type is illustrated with a number of real‐life examples from North America, Europe, and Australia.


Governments worldwide have introduced building regulatory regimes with a variety of designs. On an abstract level, these designs are shown to have a comparable pattern. This pattern is utilised to draw up a typology of regime‐designs that can be placed on a sliding scale, with a “pure public regime” at the one end and a “pure private regime” at the other. Intermediate regimes display characteristics of both.


The comparative analysis of different regimes assists policy makers by demonstrating which combinations of regulatory characteristics can provide the best results in particular instances. The typology introduced by the paper assists this process by providing a tool for systematic analysis of complex real‐life cases.



Jeroen van der Heijden (2009) "International comparative analysis of building regulations: an analytical tool", International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 9-25

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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