In this series of articles, we aim to answer some of your questions about the upcoming changes to Approved Documents L and F, SAP methodology and the Future Homes Standard.
Current proposals suggest these regulations will be coming into force in England from October 2020. Contact us with your own questions about the regulation changes, or to discuss our training seminars and workshops.
Will my site need to meet the new regs?
If you are registered under AD L 2013 and have commenced work on every building before the grace period expires, you won’t need to upgrade your buildings. Neither the go-live date for the new regulations nor the associated grace period have yet been confirmed.
Current Transitional Arrangements allow a grace period for construction sites to smoothly change from one version of an Approved Document to another.
If a Developer submits to Building Control before the new regulations come into force, they are given time (usually a year) to commence work. If they fail to start building within this year they must resubmit under the newer regulations.
Once the site is underway the building work can continue based on whichever version of the regulations was agreed at the start (unless the developer resubmits for any reason).
The Government wants to tighten up this process and is proposing a two-step approach to force builders into adopting the more stringent efficiency targets more quickly.
The first step could come into force as part of the proposed 2020 changes to Parts F and L. If it does, the Transitional Arrangements will be applied to individual buildings rather than sites and the length of time a builder must commence work may be shortened.
Currently a year is considered a ‘reasonable’ duration to begin but depending on feedback from the Future Homes Standard public consultation (which is open until January 10th) this grace period may be reduced to months.
This will have an impact on developments which are on the cusp between AD L 2013 and AD L 2020, but there are still developments on long-term schedules which were originally submitted under even older Building Regulations. These sites would be swept up in the second step of Transitional Arrangement tightening. This phase would kick in when the regulations change again in 2025. From this point, any building which has been approved but not started, regardless of which version of building regulations it was submitted under, would need to meet the 2025 standard (in whatever shape that takes).
At this stage it’s important to be aware of what’s around the corner. If Transitional Arrangements are made stricter, this could lead to increased build costs, last minute design changes and bring the viability of pre-purchased products into question.
The Energist Technical Team is on hand to help, and we’ll be releasing further updates when the proposed plans reach their final form.