Government strengthens energy efficiency standards for new builds

The Government has confirmed today that there will be a 6% uplift in efficiency standards of new homes and a 9% improvement in non-domestic buildings over Part L 2010 Building Regulations.

Community Secretary Eric Pickles today announced the decision, which comes 461 days after his formal consultation into his Part L building regulations changes closed.

The new standards were due to begin operating in April 2013 and, according to the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE), former building regulations minister Sir Andrew Stunell publicly suggested bringing introduction forward to late 2012.

However, the delayed decision will now result in the standards being implemented on April 6 2014.

In February, six managing directors of ACE member companies wrote an open letter to Pickles, complaining that the delays in decision making on Part L were leading to considerable losses for them, owing to having made investments in capital and training, based upon the initial agreed timetable.

ACE says that this led to a loss of confidence in government amongst building materials producers that would take “years to restore”.

According to ACE, 461 days is believed to be the longest time any government department has ever taken responding to a time sensitive public consultation.

Director of the ACE, Andrew Warren, said: “Still, and grudgingly, better late than never”.

Others in the industry have welcomed the decision but also expressed their frustration at the time period it took for the Government to come to a decision.

Director of policy and communications at UK-GBC, John Alker, 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. Although we’re still waiting for details on Carbon Compliance, Allowable Solutions and the Housing Standards Review – so Government is not out of the woods yet.

“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.

“The delay in implementation is disappointing but sadly inevitable. It needn’t knock us off course from the zero carbon targets, which it is encouraging to see Government remains committed to,” added Alker.

Leigh Stringer

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