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Definitive ruling on Consequential Improvements

The High Court has ruled that Eric Pickles was within his rights to scrap Government plans to bring in consequential improvements for future home renovation projects.

This means builders and homeowners could be looking to save 10% off the cost of their future projects, but campaigners are still angry that Pickles’ decision has been upheld.

Conservatory Tax

When details were first announced about consequential improvements last year, the daily papers branded them a ‘conservatory tax’ – but despite their outcry, more than four fifths of people who responded to the consultation papers were in favour of bringing it in with the new version of Part L.

The idea behind consequential improvements is to force developers of extensions to ringfence 10% of their total budget for building costs, and use it to make enhance the energy efficiency of the existing building.

The money would be spent on items such as new heating, changing to double glazing, loft insulation and installing solar panels. This would of come into force with the next version of the Approved Document Part L.

But despite such large support for the move, the Secretary of State for the CLG (Communities and Local Government) made the decision to get rid of this section from the consultation entirely.

Campaigners for greener building practices took this decision to court, claiming that Pickles was wrong to make his move off his own back, but the judge has concluded that Government ministers are allowed to change their minds about details in consultations, providing public comments have been “genuinely considered.”

Part L Regs

Under current Part L regs, consequential improvements are enforced only when extensions are being constructed to commercial buildings with a useful floor area greater than 500sqm. It is likely this is how it is going to remain for the next few years, but this can’t be confirmed until the revised Part L is announced.

The release of this Approved Document is now overdue, with no news on when we can expect to see a finalised copy. Keep a close eye on the Energist website for more updates.

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 22.07.2013.