Delays to Part L: A Risk to Industry Growth
The 2012 budget statement committed the government to “publish a detailed plan, setting out its response” on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations by May 2013. The updated Part L was expected to:
- Strengthen new-build standards to pave the way towards zero carbon.
- Introduce a separate fabric energy efficiency target for new dwellings.
- Propose changes to the calculation tools used to evaluate buildings.
- Increase the standards of energy efficiency for existing buildings to support the Government's planned Green Deal initiative.
- Introduce measures to incentivise improved compliance.
However, the detailed requirements of the updates have still not materialised. Without the comprehensive update of Part L many fear that achieving the government’s ambitious carbon targets is unrealistic.
The delay is creating a multitude of concerns, and the longer it continues, the more potent they become. Some designers are now developing multiple building models to compensate for the uncertainty. This drives up costs for clients and diverts money away from new projects or even causes work to be terminated. Manufacturers are also losing out from the delays. Time and money spent producing detailed U-value calculations may have to be repeated when further regulations are published.
This is not the first time a delay to regulation changes has aggravated the construction industry. In 2011, The Department for Communities and Local Government aimed to bring about new changes to the Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) regulations by 1 July 2011. The changes did not materialise until the following year.
Before the changes were made to the EPC regulations in 2012, the requirements to obtain a certificate had been subject to low levels of enforcement and routine non-compliance. The updated regulations worked to counter this non-cooperation by placing the power of commissioning a certificate in the hands of the marketing agents rather than landlords and owners. The modifications also intended to extend the current requirements for residential buildings to cover all non-residential buildings. The 2012 protocols were imperative to ensure the implementation of solid emission savings initiatives and to generate new refurbishment opportunities within the UK.
Reaching carbon targets is not the only objective at stake. The construction sector is in a very vulnerable position following a long recession. Any further challenges threaten to hamper recovery. It is time the government realised that well-constructed legislation supports, rather than stifles, innovation and growth.
Featured articles and news
Do you know all the various types of defects in brickwork?
US museum reveals plans for an installation made entirely of paper tubes.
Review of a book looking at how contemporary architecture found its expression within neoliberal capitalism.
The Great Mosque of Djenne, the largest mud-brick building in the world.
Amanda Clack, RICS President offers recommendations to government on Brexit and the construction skills shortage.
Tired of the commute? This architecture firm believes the best solution is to take cars underground.
Why do so many women leave engineering? Probably not for the reason you’re thinking.
For over 30 years David Trench was one of the UK's leading project managers. Read about his career through some of his most famous projects.
Leading institutes join forces calling for property flood resilience measures to help householders avoid repeat flooding.
CITB publish new report calling for the development of new skills standards for offsite construction.
Residents of neighbouring building go to High Court claiming viewing platform infringes their human rights.
If only Easter eggs came as large as this one in a Japanese bird sanctuary.