Homeowners could be asked to include green measures when making home improvements
Government launches consultation on changes to the building regulations
Report from – Jo Smit
Homeowners carrying out improvements such as extensions and loft conversions could be asked to increase the energy efficiency of their property at the same time, under proposed changes to the building regulations. The proposal to make so-called consequential improvements to existing homes is among the proposals in the new consultation on changes to Part L of the building regulations, which covers conservation of fuel and power.
The government has launched a consultation on changes to a number of sections of the building regulations, specifically parts L, P, A, B, C, K, M and N as well as Building Control.
Consequential improvements are set to be phased in from October this year, to align with the introduction of the green deal. Part L also proposes a fabric-first approach to meeting energy efficiency targets for new homes, but says preferred standards for new non-domestic buildings are likely to require both building-integrated renewable energy technologies and a higher performing fabric. The consultation also challenges the homebuilding industry to develop a quality assurance standard as an incentive for new homes to meet the standards they are designed to.
Proposals in the consultation include:
- Updating guidance on structural safety in Approved Document A - mainly changes associated with the introduction of the Eurocodes, a new set of British Standards for structural design based on a Europe-wide approach
- Revision of Approved Document B guidance on the fire performance of wall and ceiling linings
- Repeal of the fire protection provisions in local acts
- Amalgamation of guidance from the current Approved Documents K, M and N into a new Approved Document K (protection from falling, collision and impact and glazing safety)
- Revision of the Approved Document in support of Building Regulation 7 (materials and workmanship) to clarify that Declarations of Performance and CE marking will become the main source of information for the performance characteristics of construction products from July 2013.
The government also considered whether it would be appropriate to introduce regulations requiring security measures in homes. However, it decided to work with industry to achieve higher levels of security standards on a localised basis, rather than introduce regulation.
Paving the way
Planned changes to the building regulations are intended to reduce regulatory costs for businesses, paving the way for the introduction of zero carbon new homes from 2016 and helping roll-out of the green deal later this year, which aims to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes.
Launching the consultation, communities minister Andrew Stunell said: "I'm delighted that these much needed changes will provide guidance that is both fit for purpose and will cut carbon emissions, while also saving money for householders and businesses alike."
Consultation on the green deal closes on 27 March 2012, while consultation on other proposals closes on 27 April.