Technical Bulletin

“We have been completely happy with the service provided and would happily use Act again, in fact, we may well be in touch some time soon!”

– Residential Homeowner, Mr Tomlinson

Changes to Building Regulations for England – Part L from 6th April 2014

Originally planned for October 2013, changes to Part L will now come into force on 6th April 2014 according to the government’s latest announcement.

Whilst the revised approved document L1A, B & L2A, B have yet to be released, the summary below can identify some areas that the Government has acknowledged for improving energy efficiency.

The main markets affected by changes to Part L of the building regulations are those for the development of new homes and non-domestic property and the replacement of specified building services to existing non domestic property.

Higher standards will effectively mean clients, designers and contractors will have to comply with more rigorous energy efficiency and building emission targets. New build homes will have to be 6% more energy efficient, whilst non-domestic buildings will have to be 9% more efficient respectively.

Improved targets may see a rise of new innovative products entering the market. Evidence may suggest that the creation of a competitive market, would improve performance and research within the industry. This in turn may perhaps produce higher specification construction materials, thus increasing energy efficiency. However, initially this could relate to higher capital costs.

Transitional Provisions:

If Act Building Control is appointed and the initial notice/s submitted before 6th April 2014, the current (2010 Approved Documents) regulations will apply, providing that work commences within a twelve month time period.

Ultimately, the government is keen to ensure the growth of the house building industry, thus the transitional provisions will mean that only one plot on a site would need to commence to validate all the plots on the on the application under current Part L requirements.

Summary of the changes:

  • New build homes will have to be an average of 6% more energy efficient than under the 2010 regulations.
  • Non-domestic buildings will have to be 9% more energy efficient than under the 2010 regulations.
  • The government predicts the changes will help lower fuel bills and deliver savings of 16m per year for businesses.
  • A new fabric energy efficiency target is to be introduced. Details of this, how the improvements will be calculated and targets for different building types are yet to be published.
  • Improvements to new dwellings under the 2014 requirements will have little impact on the total carbon reduction figures, thus the DCLG must develop a strategy to implement in order to improve current house stock.

Scotland and Wales:

  • Ministers in Scotland are considering reducing emission rates by 21% for the new Section 6 regulations when it is updated next year.
  • The Welsh Assembly confirmed an 8% reduction level over current targets.

Changes to Building Regulations for England – Part A & C from 1st October 2013

Part A (Structure)

The Approved Document is updated to include reference to the latest British Standards that are based on Eurocodes. The Government will also publish additional guidance on:

  • How withdrawn standards may still be used for some time giving industry time to adapt
  • How BCBs and Engineers may continue to accept old design standards for smaller scale work

There are other minor changes made to align guidance for strip foundations in shrinkable clay soils and the recovering of roofs with common practice.

View Part A Approved Document

Part C (Site preparation and resistance to moisture)

Information relating to Radon protection requirements is being updated to reflect the 2007 mapping by Public Health England and with references to BRE publication BR211 ‘Radon’.

The references to the new structural design British Standard for geotechnics in the site investigation of sites will also be updated.
View Part C Approved Document