Building Regulations proposals look for 20% improvement in new buildings

2013 Building Regulations, Part L

An important stage in the development of the next Building Regulations is now underway, with consultations on proposed changes to the regulations now being open and closing on 27 April 2012, although responses on aspects that link to the Green Deal proposals in section two are requested by 27 March.

The consultation contains a significant deregulatory element and proposals to further improve the energy efficiency and safety aspects of the technical Building Regulations. It also explores various changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the building-control system.

The consultation is presented in four sections.

Section one outlines the approach to the consultation and proposals to change various technical aspects of the regulations.

Section two sets out proposals to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.

Section three puts forward proposals relating to electrical safety in homes.

Finally, section four includes proposals to the building control system, including strengthening enforcement.

For new non-domestic buildings there are two proposals for improving the energy efficiency of new buildings — an aggregate of 11% over Part L 2010 over all types of building and an aggregate of 20%. The Government’s preferred option is the 20% uplift.

Depending on the type of building, the 11% aggregate would see improvements ranging from 8 to 12%, depending on building type, based on improvements to fabric and services efficiencies.

It is envisaged that a 20% improvement would be achieved by a more challenging package of fabric and services improvements with the addition of a solar PV array of 1.6% of floor area. A high-rise building would thus have a greater percentage of its roof area covered with solar PV panels than a low-rise building with the same floor area. The range of improvements would be from 15% for a 5-star hotel to 23% for a shallow-plan office.

Designers are not, however, obliged to use PV panels, though it is suggested that renewable technologies are among the most cost-effective ways to meet a 20% aggregate improvement.

There is no proposal to change the requirements for consequential improvements in non-domestic buildings over 1000 m2.

For smaller non-domestic buildings, however, it is assumed that most extensions will be to domestic-style construction and that about 80% of buildings with floor areas below 1000 m2 are below 250 m2.

For this consultation , it is assumed that the arrangements for consequential improvements would mirror those for homes — i.e. be subject to tests of technical, functional and economic feasibility.

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