New Zero Building Regulation Changes for 2022
If you’re in any way connected to the building trade then you’ll no doubt be aware of the Future Homes and Buildings Standard, due to take effect in 2025. This has been formed as a response to the 2-part consultation period on homes and non-domestic buildings, which took place 2019-2020 and 2021 respectively.
The Standard covers energy efficiency, ventilation and overheating across existing homes, non-domestic buildings and new buildings moving forward. Whilst not due to be fully implemented until 2025, there will be interim changes as part of this to different areas of the current Building Regulations that come into force on June 15, 2022. As such, it’s important that anyone intending to commence the building regulation approval process on or after this date is aware of the details as to what is being amended.
The goal of these changes is in part to move towards the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, which has a target date of 2050 to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy.
Amendments to The Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations2021
These interim changes will apply to England and Wales and apply to a selection of Regulations, Schedules and amendments to the Approved Inspectors Regulations. The plans for a transitional provision have also been laid out in Part 4.
Full details of these changes can be found online at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1391/made, but in summary:
- Changes / amendments and insertions being made in June 2022 aim to reduce CO2 emissions by around 30%.
- Required improvements in ventilation for both new and existing non-domestic buildings are being introduced to help reduce the risk of transmission of airborne viruses and diseases such as COVID-19.
- Overheating has been identified as a particular area of concern, which will be address for all new domestic buildings – this stems from the fact that 40% of the UK’s total energy usage goes into heating and powering buildings. These rules will apply to all new residential buildings including care homes and student accommodation.
- Low carbon technology and eco alternatives will be used, such as solar panels and heat pumps – this in turn will also help to lower energy bills for families and businesses alike.
The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Local Authority Delivery scheme and Home Upgrade Grant scheme
In conjunction with these planned changes, there have been 3 different avenues of investment being offered to low income households, totalling 6.6Bn altogether.
- The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund – Wave 1 of this closed in December 2021, but was open for registered providers of social housing to apply for funding to improve energy efficiency in social homes.
Wave 2 timescales are yet to be confirmed but it should open in the Spring of 2022; however The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have committed £800m of funding to this.
- Local Authority Delivery scheme – Also known as LAD, this is delivered by local authorities to target energy efficiency in eligible private households (those with a gross annual income under £30,000 and can be either owned or rented). The measures available under this include solar panels, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, and the funding per property is capped at £10,000 maximum.
- The Home Upgrade Grant scheme – Also known as HUG, this has made 150m of funding available to help install more energy efficient measures in properties. This will include boiler upgrades, loft insulation and cavity wall work.
Impact on the Construction Industry
There will be certain implications of these changes that will be passed on to the construction industry, not least new regulations to learn and ensure adherence to. Certain training schemes and courses such as CDM, electrical work and CITB SMSTS will be updated to reflect current regulations, and it will be important for those working in roles where adherence is crucial to refresh and train to ensure they know what the new regulatory building requirements are.