17 December 2021

New buildings to be more energy efficient

The Government has announced that from 15 June 2022, new homes and buildings in England will have to produce around 30% lower CO2 than current standards, and emissions from other new buildings, including offices and shops, must be reduced by 27%.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “We support the efforts to get to net zero and will do all we can to achieve it. With the energy efficiency standard of buildings going up again in 2025, we must use the next three years to ensure change is deliverable and industry is ready, rather than the Government panicking and turning to an exercise of taxation and regulatory tightening to achieve arbitrary targets.

 

We have been working with NFB members so they can more quickly deliver net zero projects and releasing guidance to assist them. We are in a great position to help the Government understand the challenges, barriers and easy wins.”

 

There will be a 6 month period before the new regulations come into force on 15 June 2022. Transitional arrangements are in place which mean that if a building notice, initial notice, or full plans for building work are submitted to a local authority before 15 June 2022, then provided the building work commences by 15 June 2023, work on that individual building is permitted to continue under the previous standards.

 

To achieve the interim standard, the following Building Regulations have been updated and a new approved document, Part O, which covers overheating, has been released.

  •  Approved Document L: volume 1: dwellings
  • Approved Document L: volume 2: buildings other than dwellings
  • Approved Document F: volume 1: dwellings
  • Approved Document F: volume 2: buildings other than dwellings
  • Approved Document O: overheating

 

The Government has also introduced ‘Approved Document S: infrastructure for charging electric vehicles’, which has caused some concern in the industry as the initial consultation which began in 2019, lacked vital detail around grid investments and costings.

 

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning at the House Builders Association (HBA), the housebuilding division of the NFB, said: “To deliver electric car charging points, builders will be required to invest in the grid, rather than just charging infrastructure on their development sites. We cannot fathom why developers and builders are paying for offsite grid upgrades such as substations, cabling and transformers, when the move away from gas and on to electricity will see energy companies profiting in perpetuity.

 

We have been bringing this issue up for several years, but our questions have fallen on deaf ears. As well as speaking to ministers and civil servants about this, we will be asking Ofgem to ensure that the grid operators detail the upgrade costs attributed to investment such as EV charging, so that the full impact of this new tax can be understood.”