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Future Homes Standard updates – What you need to know from Day 1

20 Jan 2021

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Future Homes Standard updates – What you need to know from Day 1.

After months of speculation and delay, we can finally confirm there has been movement with the Future Homes Standard, and confirmation that Approved Document Part L in England is definitely changing next year.

But that’s only part of it – the Government has this week also announced proposals for making changes to SBEM (AD L2), introducing a new building regulation to tackle overheating in new builds, making changes to the requirements for existing building extensions and renovations, and set out a five year timeline for what’s happening when.

So, where to start?

Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing plenty of information about these changes, with additional webinars being slotted into the schedule as I type.

As expected, these regulation changes will bring a steep jump in the energy performance of new buildings with targets encouraging a shift away from gas and oil, and putting the focus towards low carbon heating systems.

Let’s start with when…

The go live date for these changes has been confirmed as June 2022. This date will bring in a new Part L for energy and emissions (all sections, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B), a new Part F for ventilation and air quality, and a brand new Approved Document for overheating risks in dwellings as well as buildings like care homes and hostels.

Until June 2022, the current building regulations apply.

Transitional arrangements (the grace period for building sites which start before June 2022) is twelve months, and will apply to individual buildings. This means any new building registered under current regulations where work isn’t started before June 2023 will need to be upgraded to meet the new standards. In this case, a ‘building’ means a detached house, a row of terraced house, or a block of flats.

And what’s changing?

We’ll cover the detail in future articles, but here are some headlines for new build houses:

The Target Emission Rate is going to be 31% tougher than today. And if that sounds daunting, from 2025 the target will be 75% tougher than today.

A new Target Primary Energy Target will be introduced. As the standard for new homes gets closer to zero carbon, the focus will turn towards energy use instead of emissions. Using low energy systems is key to meeting this requirement.

Plans to introduce an affordability target based on EPC ratings have been removed. Although laws on MEES (where a minimum EPC rating of E is required for some building sales and new rentals) will be extended in the coming years to cover more buildings and improve the minimum EPC band to D.

Finally (for now) the Fabric Energy Efficiency – which was set to be deleted from the requirements – looks like it’s going to be saved. This target ignores the heating and ventilation system and puts sole focus on the performance of the fabric. That’s to discourage developers from scrimping on insulation in favour of an over-the-top PV array. There’s talk of this target being made 15% tougher than today’s standard, but that’s still to be confirmed.

So, new dwellings from 2022 will need to comply with a Target Emission Rate, a Target Primary Energy Rate, and a Target Fabric Energy Efficiency. They’ll also need to meet tougher U-value limits and use higher-efficiency heating, ventilation and lighting systems.

Stay with us for more news on these major regulation changes.

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Author

Jon Ponting

Energy And Sustainability Specialist

Email

Jon Ponting

Energy And Sustainability Specialist

jonp@energistuk.co.uk
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