Part L 2013 Changes – Update

The government has unveiled the long-awaited changes to Part L of the building regulations, including rules that new homes must be 6% more efficient.

Homebuilders will continue to have flexibility in meeting carbon dioxide targets, but the changes emphasise that the quality of the building fabric must be a priority.

Non-domestic buildings will have to deliver a 9% improvement compared to the 2010 standards. For these, minimum energy efficiency standards will be strengthened when works include air conditioning and lighting replacements.

Baroness Hanham, parliamentary under secretary of state, announced the changes in a written statement (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/130730-wms0001.htm#13073027000022) to the House of Lords today. She said: “These Part L changes take an important and technically meaningful step towards zero carbon homes but one that allows government to reduce the overall regulatory burden upon home builders.”

Meanwhile, the government has officially dropped plans to strengthen the minimum energy efficiency standards for extensions and replacement windows to existing homes.

It also said the government would ‘shortly’ publish a consultation on the next steps to take forward zero carbon homes.

The changes will come into force on April 6, 2014.

John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council, said: “There can be no excuses for the length of time this has taken, but finally industry has the clarity on Part L that it craves.

“The uplift is less ambitious than any of the options originally consulted upon – even less than government’s previously ‘preferred options’, particularly for non-domestic buildings. However, the fact there is any uplift at all is good news – it’s a victory for all those who know that industry can continue to innovate, to improve standards and reduce carbon cost-effectively.”

Don Foster, building regulations minister, added: “Today’s measures mean businesses and householders will not only benefit from reduced energy bills but they will also know they are doing their bit to tackle climate change.”