Building Regulations Part L, or Approved Document L, is the section of the UK’s minimum building safety standards that addresses the conservation of fuel and power.
This section was updated on 15th June 2022, outlining a framework to make new homes at least 31% more energy efficient than previously required by 2025. However, the government allowed a ‘grace period’ of one year for buildings in the planning process.
Now, as 15th June 2023 has passed, all buildings covered by Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Approved Document L must follow the amendments. The new regulations apply to all new buildings and are legally enforceable from now on.
Here’s a summary of how this affects everyone involved in designing, constructing, or renovating buildings in England – including architects, engineers, developers, builders, and stakeholders.
The one-year grace period meant eligible parties that started planning projects before the new regulations came into effect were allowed to follow the old regulations, and were given time to adjust their plans, if needed, before building work began.
Anyone who applied for a Building Notice for Building Regulations approval before 15th June 2022 had one year from this date to start work on their planned project if they wanted to stick to the previous regulations without penalties.
A Building Notice is usually valid for three years, but 15th June 2023 was the deadline for any applicants prior to 15th June 2022 to start building. Any such projects that missed this date must now comply with the updated regulations alongside everyone else.
All individuals and organisations responsible for planning or constructing a building must consult Volume 1: Dwellings and uphold the latest standards for new and existing homes, or Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings to comply with the updated requirements for non-residences.
The new Part L regulations encourage ‘fabric-first’ strategies for sustainable development. This means making careful and cost-effective choices about the materials used, ensuring that these materials will reduce carbon emissions throughout the building’s lifecycle.
These strategies focus on minimising heat loss via thermal bridging by improving insulation and airtightness. New designs and construction methods, along with sustainable materials, must meet the new minimum U-values for heat transfer (the lower the U-value, the better the insulation).
Though improving energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions by 31% may seem like a high number, it’s actually been criticised for being too low – the Future Homes Standard due to take effect in 2025 is expected to enforce a 75–80% reduction in carbon emissions.
This is why anybody working in this industry, and even self-builders or DIY home extenders or converters, must get ahead by making the best possible energy efficiency choices, as early as possible. We must all familiarise ourselves with stricter regulations and how to address them in the design stages to make compliant planning and construction easier.
Setting up a structural warranty can help to ensure that construction is completed according to approved plans and in compliance with Building Regulations, with documentation to prove it, as key stage inspections must be carried out by chartered surveyors.
New build insurance is also a legal requirement for new build homes under the Building Safety Act 2022 – so, just as architects and builders should be striving to meet the new energy efficiency standards, they should also make sure these policies are set up before construction starts.
To find out how a new build warranty could help you or to get a quote for your planned project, contact the Architects Certificate team. You can call us, reach out on WhatsApp, or send an email to email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.
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