Wales – Non-residential AD L Consultation
The Welsh Government has taken a further step towards improving the energy performance of buildings by releasing new proposals for the non-residential sector.
This follows a similar announcement late last year which proposed new measures for housebuilders in the country. When implemented, these changes are expected to make compliance with SAP tougher by 37%, and will introduce a mandatory requirement for all new dwellings to achieve an A or B rated Energy Performance Certificate.
This recent announcement for updating Approved Document Part L2 and the SBEM assessment could lead to an average 28% cut in the target energy and emission rates.
The full proposals are open for public consultation until January 17th 2022. You can download the details and have your say here:
This is one piece of a much bigger jigsaw. Both the Welsh and UK Governments are gearing up to make sweeping changes during 2022, introducing tougher energy targets for all new builds, new requirements for better ventilation and air quality in our buildings, and introducing a new section of Building Regulations to reduce to risk of overheating in new homes.
In England, this six year programme is known as the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard.
As well as introducing lower targets to achieve compliance, the SBEM calculation will also be updated – the biggest change – as with SAP – will be a significant adjustment to the emission factor of grid electricity, making this the preferred heating fuel instead of fossil fuel systems.
This means developers will need to prioritise heat pumps and air conditioning systems in the majority of buildings, with photovoltaic panels becoming the norm for any developer wishing to continue with the use of gas and oil boilers.
The new consultation also revisits some points raised in last year’s consultation. One of which is Transitional Arrangements.
The Welsh Government had previously suggested a two year grace period between the regulations going live, and reinforcement on existing construction sites. Historically, a one year Transitional Arrangement has been put in place, but it was felt the extent of changes meant developers would need extra time to adapt.
They’ve now decided against these extended timeframes, citing the need for more urgent change to reduce our carbon emissions. The grace period of the new regulations is therefore expected to be reset to one year.
Another update is regarding the proposed Approved Document Part S, which initially set out targets on dwellings to mitigate overheating risk.
It’s now proposed these rules will also apply to care homes, boarding schools and similar buildings which are used similar to typical residential units. If approved, this will bring Wales in line with similar proposals set out by the UK Government as part of the Future Homes Standard.
There’s a lot of uncertainty still about the final targets and implementation dates for these regulation changes. The first finalised announcements are expected before the end of 2021 to go live in the summer of 2022.
But with this latest consultation still open for public debate it’s likely to be at least a year before all the proposed regulations are launched, meaning next year is going to ride a wave of mixed Building Regulations depending on whether you’re constructing a house in Wales or an office in England.
If we can all agree not to build any multi-use complexes in any border towns for the next 12 months, that will make our lives at Energist that little bit easier.