Have Your Say on Proposed Changes to Part L

At the beginning of October, UK Government released a consultation on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations. Industry now has the opportunity to comment and help shape the future industry. Here’s what you need to know.

The government has launched a consultation on Part L of the Building Regulations, as a means of improving the efficiency of new homes by 2020. The changes form part of the government’s ‘Future Homes Standard’, which requires all new build homes to be highly energy efficient and future-proofed for low carbon technology developments, by 2025.

The proposed changes are built on the expectation that the average UK home would need to produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than current standards. Energy efficiency and low carbon heating solutions are therefore vital if the UK is to meet this requirement.

The purpose of the consultation is to understand industry and market views on the proposal. In brief, there are two proposed phases, with the first beginning next year, post consultation.

The first phase is based on two potential scenarios that includes a carbon emissions reduction of between 20% and 31%, on current Part L1a standards. The 20% reduction would be based on better building fabric standards, whereas the 31% (Government’s preferred option) would also include using low carbon heating technologies.

The changes aren’t actually new for the heating industry. In fact, they present an opportunity for standardisation. For example, the proposed minimum requirements for boiler efficiency, match those of Boiler Plus and, the recommendations for heat pump efficiency are consistent with the EU Ecodesign Directive which is already well established.

Another part of the proposal is the introduction of a ‘householder affordability standard’. This would help to reduce the risk of systems being specified at the point of construction that could land house buyers with higher operating costs.

There is also a proposal for developers to introduce a series of measures for new homes, to make the future change to low carbon heating simple. In practice, this would mean a lowering of the required hot water flow temperature to less than 55°C, meaning larger radiators or perhaps an underfloor heating system.

While energy and hot water storage is discussed, we feel the proposal could go further, perhaps with mandatory hot water storage or dedicated cupboard space to enable the installation of this technology at a later date.

The document provides a guide to current government thinking on the UK’s low carbon future and we’d encourage people to have their say, on what is ultimately our future. Yes, the document related to new build developments, but if successful, the plans are likely to be rolled out to the wider market, so it’s important that industry is on board with the proposals.

Open for comments until 10 January 2020, its well worth a look and we encourage everyone to have a say, on what is ultimately our future.

You can find the full documents and how to respond here.