Revised Building Regulations to arrive two years early
New measures to make buildings more energy efficient will save a million tonnes of carbon a year by 2010, according to an announcement from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and DEFRA last month (September). The changes to Parts F (ventilation) and Part L (fuel conservation) from April 2006, two years ahead of schedule, and the implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will make a major contribution to the UK’s commitment to combat climate change. This will mean new homes will need to be better insulated and have more efficient heating systems. The revised Part L will also make air-pressure leakage testing of buildings mandatory, improving compliance with the regulations by revealing unacceptable leakage, which can increase energy consumption. These measures, alongside changes to condensing boilers, will improve energy standards for new buildings by 27% for non-dwellings, 22% in houses and 18% in flats. The new measures, together with changes to strengthen Building Regulations in 2002, will improve standards by 40% — cutting fuel bills by up to 40% for new homes built from 2006. Part L of the Building Regulations sets out standards for building work to conserve fuel and power and minimise heat loss, increasing energy efficiency through the use of more energy-efficient materials and methods. The measures are performance based, allowing flexibility to meet the new standards. Environment Minister Elliot Morley said, ‘I welcome this important step to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, which will cut harmful greenhouse-gas emissions. These measures will improve energy efficiency in buildings hugely, essential if we are going to meet our targets for cutting carbon-dioxide emissions. Every sector of society has to play a part in the effort to combat climate change, including the building industry by promoting energy-efficient products and design.’ To ensure a high level of compliance and understanding of the new regulations, ODPM is introducing nationally recognised qualifications for surveyors and will be promoting the development of self-certification for Part L schemes to improve regulation. ODPM has already put in place a training and information programme.