Recent uncertainty over Brexit doesn’t seem to have dented the number of new homes going up across the UK. The latest set of housebuilding figures (June 2018-2019) shows an 11 year high with 170,000 new dwellings being completed. This is still someway short of the Government’s long-held target of a quarter of a million every year, but it’s heading in the right direction.
Robert Jenrick is the current Housing Secretary. He took over from James Brokenshire within hours of Boris Johnson becoming PM. But in this short amount of time there have been announcements on relaxing planning regulations and consultations to change building regulations in England.
Approved Documents Part F and L are to be brought in line with the Government’s Future Homes Standard plan – this will create mandatory requirements for low Co2 homes using the latest green technology from 2025. Both regulations are expected to change at the end of 2020 and will act as an interim step to achieving these ambitious sustainability targets.
Meanwhile in the planning world, Jenrick has announced proposals to overhaul and scrap certain planning conditions to help speed up the whole process for developers. He wants every local authority to produce its own design guide which will set out how new buildings should fit the region’s “character and history, while meeting the expected national standard”.
On top of this news, Jenrick has also said an ‘accelerated planning green paper’ will be released in full next month, and a National Model Design Code for new dwellings has been promised in the New Year.
After several years of Building Regulations remaining stagnant, we are now seeing a flurry of consultations and proposals which have the potential to change many aspects of how we construct new buildings moving forward. And even though these changes mean tougher regulations which are likely to increase the cost of housebuilding, the Government appears confident this will not reduce the number of homes being constructed.
Proposed new targets on energy use and fuel bills, as well as the more well-known target emission rate, are certain to create a very different ‘ideal’ specification from 2020 onwards. We are keeping a very close eye on how these consultations and proposals develop and are expecting further announcements over the coming months.
Keep a look out for new articles from us explaining the regulation and planning changes, and how this is likely to impact your future designs and specifications.