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The Housing Standards Review - Indoor Environmental Standards

- Overheating

- Daylighting

- Sunlighting

- Indoor air quality

It’s worth stating upfront, that this part of the consultation doesn’t propose any new standards on these areas, but does leave the door open for further investigation. So taking each in turn, here’s what we’re working with…

Overheating:

The Government considers that summer overheating is an issue that is of concern, arising from well insulated and air tight properties and that standardised solutions are not yet available. At present SAP makes a basic assessment of Summer Overheating, but it is not considered a reliable assessment, being based heavily on occupant dependant behaviour. The consultation also sets out the Government position that the planning process should review overheating risk, and that a separately developed standard is not suitable in this area. So what does the Government propose?

1)      DCLG are to monitor the issue of overheating to assess if there is need to amend both Part F and Part L.

2)      DCLG will consider the effect on summer overheating when reviewing other areas of the Building Regulations – for example –insulating pipework in communal areas to minimise heat los, which also has an effect on summer overheating – are similar safeguards required elsewhere in the building regulations?

3)      Can SAP Methodology be improved to improve the risk assessment of summer overheating?

4)      Industry should take the lead in developing tools to measure and mitigate summer overheating risks.

Daylighting:

Daylighting calculations are currently only required under the HEA 1 category of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and are occasionally used to assess the impact of a new building on the daylight levels to existing buildings.

The Government believes that the levels of natural daylight in new builds is not problematic and therefore doesn’t propose any new standards or regulation on this area. It makes it clear that the HEA 1 methodology used in the CSH is not to be applied through Building Regulations but Local Planning Authorities can continue to use these tools to assess the impact of development, where there is a concern. The Government does ask if there is appetite to investigate this issue further and asks for evidence to show why this area should be regulated further.

Sunlighting:

This is a brief and easy one! The consultation states that considerations of sunlight to properties should be a planning consideration and not a consideration for the Housing Standards Review. Do you agree??

Indoor air quality:

New houses are currently regulated through Part F when it comes to ventilation. However, recent research has thrown up common cases of non-compliance when a dwelling is completed, leading to issues with mould and condensation growth. Ultimately Part F cannot regulate how someone uses a property and the consultation does indeed recognise this.

However, the government doesn’t look to increase standards in this area, proposing rather to continue to review indoor air quality through Part F, to ensure it is effective and fit for purpose.

So the long and short of this chapter is that there are no impending changes, but that the Government certainly has these areas on the radar with more focus likely in the future.

Do you agree that this approach is correct, or is it too hands off from the Government? Have your say at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/housing-standards-review-consultation.

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 16.10.2013.