Changes to the Building Regulations come into effect on 15th June 2022

Building Regulations, BuildtoPlans

Changes to the Building Regulations come into effect on 15th June 2022

What’s changed and what you need to know

Updated Building Regulations for England take effect today. Here we outline the major changes, what architects need to know and how it will affect current and proposed projects

The updated regulations include amendments to Approved Documents Part F (Ventilation) and Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) and the release of a new Approved Document for Overheating (Part O) and Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles (Part S). They are primarily focused on new non-domestic buildings but also include policies for existing non-domestic buildings and new and existing housing.

Why are they changing? The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities says the changes ‘mark an important step on our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment and it supports us in our target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050’.

The bulk of the changes are part of the roadmap, or rather interim measures to the government’s Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard – planned for 2025 – for which a key part is that all new builds are capable of being net zero in terms of operational carbon when the grid decarbonises.

According to numbers from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, heating and power account for 40 per cent of the UK’s total energy use. So implementing new building regulations that reduce the need to heat and power buildings can help the UK make lengths to reach its zero carbon goals.

But will they enforce greener projects? And how will they improve on current Building Regulations? Architects and engineers criticised the government’s amendments to energy efficiency regulations in December when the AJ first reported on the proposed changes, describing them as ‘a tiny step at a time when we need to be making a huge leap’.

What are the key changes?
From 15 June, new-build homes will need to produce at least 31 per cent less carbon emissions. The installation of electric heating systems combined with renewable energy sources such as solar are both seen as enablers for doing so
New non-domestic builds will need to produce at least 27 per cent less carbon emissions with similar low energy measures to the previous in place
A new metric for measuring energy efficiency has been introduced. ‘Primary energy’ will be used to measure the efficiency of a building’s heating as well as the energy required to deliver fuel to a building (this even extends to including the efficiency of the power station supplying the electricity)
New minimum efficiency standards have been provided. In all new domestic builds, the new U-value for walls will be 0.18 W/m2, 1.4 for windows and roof lights and 1.4 for doors. In non-domestic builds there’s a lowered U-value of 0.26 for walls and majority of windows/curtain walling must achieve 1.6 W/m2
New and replacement heating systems in both domestic and non-domestic builds must have a maximum flow temperature of 55°C
Existing non-domestic buildings must improve the efficiency of heating and hot water boiler systems through installation of new controls. In new buildings (non-domestic), the minimum lighting efficacy has been raised to 80 luminaire lumens per circuit watt for display lighting and 95 for general lighting
Background trickle vents have been recommended for non-domestic buildings along with a new requirement for CO2 monitors in all offices. The recommended minimum air supply rate is 0.5 l/s.m2
The Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) level in new homes will be set by a ‘full fabric specification’ and SAP compliance will now be applied to extensions built on existing properties
The new Approved Document O introduces glazing limits in new-build homes, care homes, schools and student accommodation to reduce unwanted solar gain. It also enforces new levels of cross-ventilation
The new Approved Document S requires all domestic new builds to have the preparatory work completed for future installation of an electric vehicle charging point
The interim measures will apply to all projects after 15 June 2022, except where a building notice has been given or full plans have been submitted with local councils. However, the new regulations will apply to all projects regardless from 15 June 2023.

Details of the Building Regulation changes here

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