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Welsh Part L Consultation Launched

It’s a consultation paper for the new Part L in Wales. This is more than just a rewrite of current regulations – this document shows how The Welsh Assembly is breaking away from England to set its own targets on emission rates.

When this new version goes live, it will be the first time England and Wales are treated differently within Part L, and will become the fourth regionalized set of regulations to cover Great Britain (with Section 6 in Scotland and Part F in Northern Ireland).

These changes are going to have a significant impact to how we build – it’s going to cover domestic, commercial, new build and extensions. Our technical bookworms have begun digesting the 350 pages of consultation – which luckily for us is in English as well as Welsh.

Here are some of the main points:

Firstly, the current proposal is for Wales to NOT adopt the Part L 2013 changes which are planned for England. Full details on the English consultations haven’t been released yet, but it’s believed the SAP emission rates will be 44% tighter than the 2006 SAP Target.

Instead, the Welsh Assembly are going to wait until at least 2014, possibly 2015, to unleash the new Target Emission Rate and new limits to U-Values and heating efficiencies.

For example, it is proposed that maximum U-Values are cut in all areas – in particular heat loss walls could be dropped to just 0.21 (nearly a third off where they are currently) – if you’re building a standard brick and block wall, you’ll need a bigger cavity to meet this requirement. The maximum roof U-Value is down to 0.15, floors to 0.18 and glazing to 1.6

But even building to these new elements won’t be enough to match the mandatory Target Emission Rate - The new TER is expected to be based on a highly insulated building with top end heating system and also a PV array. That doesn’t mean you need to install PV under these regulations, but if you don’t, you’ll have to compensate for it elsewhere!

With all of these proposed improvements, the need to meet Code for Sustainable Homes criteria is in doubt – it’s thought CSH will no longer be required in Wales once these new legislation is brought into play.

With extensions to houses, Wales is considering introducing ‘consequential improvements’ to the domestic sector. This means a slice of your budget will need to be put aside to renovating the existing house. For example, if the home has little or no roof insulation, an empty cavity wall or no insulation around the hot water tank, you could be legally obliged to spend 10% of your extension budget on improving these elements.

In the commercial sector, it’s proposed there will be two Target Emission Rates. The current target will be joined by a target which measures the total energy use of the building. This will focus more on the insulation levels to ensure commercial buildings are being built to a high standard, and to ensure the emission rate targets are not being met by high-efficiency heating and lighting systems alone.

Also in the commercial sector, buildings such as care homes or student accommodation (any building which looks more like houses/flats than a warehouse or factory) will be measured under a tighter set of U-values and targets than the rest of the commercial sector.

The Welsh consultation documents are open for comments until October 23rd, and can be downloaded from the Welsh Government website.

If you would like more information on these proposals, or would like to see how your building specification copes under these plans, contact Energist on 08458 386 387.

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 03.08.2012.