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.
When will the new AD L go live?
We expect these changes will come into force no earlier than October 2020, maybe even 2021. That said we’d recommend you start preparing now, as the proposed adjustments could push you into making major specification changes on your future sites.
The finalised date for switching over to the new Approved Documents L & F hasn’t yet been confirmed, but there’s a pattern which is usually followed by the Government when updating building regulations which we can assume will be followed this time as well.
We are currently at the public consultation stage. This gives anyone who wishes, the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes. The consultation combines changes to Approved Documents L & F, as well as the new Future Homes Standard. It’s available online until 7th February 2020.
After this date, the MHCLG (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government) will refine the text to take account of any common trends from the public feedback. Once this step is completed the Approved Document will go through the usual Parliamentary checks before it can be introduced into law and supersede the previous edition of building regulations.
But even when we reach that point the Approved Documents aren’t expected to kick in immediately. There is usually a six-month grace period for the construction industry to digest the new requirements and get prepared to adopt them.
After the grace period comes the ‘transitional arrangements’ phase. This allows any buildings registered before the changeover date to be built to the older regs so builders don’t have to upgrade the specification at the last minute. (The transitional arrangements process is also being scrutinised by the public consultation, so that may change also).
Based on the draft proposals there are some significant adjustments to the regulations on the way. It may be the case these are diluted somewhat before the final documents are released or additional debates may be triggered which could delay proceedings.
One of the big questions is concerning how strict the new Target Emission Rate will be. The Government has decided it will either be 20% or 31% tougher than currently but hasn’t yet decided which option to go with.
Another section up for debate is where to set the bar for the new Household Affordability target. We expect this will set a minimum level on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all new homes.
If MHCLG can clear up the points which are still to be confirmed in the draft Approved Documents and publish the final version within the first few months of 2020, we can expect the new targets to come into force from Autumn.