This news is being welcomed by builders who specialize in conservatories and extensions, but green groups and campaigners have been left frustrated by this announcement.
For those who aren’t fully up to date, ‘consequential improvements’ is a way of making existing houses more energy efficient. Basically, if you applied to build a new extension, you would have to ring-fenced 10% of your total budget on upgrading the existing house. It makes sense logically, as the Government needs to start focusing more attention on reducing greenhouse gases which are released by our existing housing stock. However, the proposals met with fierce backlash, and according to a number of publications this week, ministers have caved in.
The idea isn’t new; in fact Consequential Improvements already exist if you are extending a building which is larger than 1,000sqm. The proposal was to apply the same rule to all buildings which are being extended, regardless of size.
Developers would need to look at existing heating systems, insulation values, lighting, glazing and renewable add-ons to assess whether any of these improvements would significantly reduce the fuel bill of the building.
The consultation was part of the proposed changes to Part L of Building Regulations for 2013. It is not clear yet if any other proposals to cut emission rates of new buildings have been dropped also.