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The July 2013 Changes to Part L

These changes are part of an administrative overhaul affecting eleven Parts of the regs, mostly updating the wording and requirements around materials and workmanship.

But in Part L there are a couple of extra updates worth noting:

From this July, developers of all new sites, residential and commercial, little and large, need to show they have taken ‘into account the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of using high-efficiency alternative systems in the construction’ of their new projects.

Feasibility

What does that mean? Essentially, you’re going to need an extra piece of paper to go with your building submissions which lists how feasible it would be to include things like heat pumps, community heating and renewable technologies to your project.

If you’ve ever been required to present an Energy Statement to your local planning department, this new requirement is something similar to that... except much more basic and with no definite conclusion...

Strangely, although this new feasibility statement is becoming mandatory across England and Wales, the need to implement the recommendations listed isn’t.

So you could have a report which shows PV panels would save you 1,000 kgCO2 or that a heat pump would save the occupants £400 annually, but as long as the building complies with Part L without these improvements, you wouldn’t even need to consider it.

It’s also very unclear about who’s going to be checking these reports, and whether those who check them will have any powers to enforce the recommendations.

It’s suggested the introduction of these reports is to get the industry used to them, and that recommendations to make improvements may become mandatory at a later date.

Energy Performance Certificates

Another change this summer will be in the way Energy Performance Certificates are produced for the domestic sector.

Currently, an EPC is typically five pages – the front page gives you the A-G energy rating, and the following pages lists recommendations about how to improve this rating (such as installing more roof insulation or buying some PV panels).

From July, these two sections will be split, meaning your EPC will be a single page document, with a separate Recommendations Report to accompany it.

This is already how the reports work in the commercial sector.

This clearly isn’t the big update we’ve been waiting for, but an important one to note nonetheless. We’ll continue to keep a beady eye on Building Regulations and will bring you more updates when they’re released.

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 26.03.2013.