Golden Threads & Talking Heads S1E1

Our new Stroma Group Podcast - Golden Threads & Talking Heads - has premiered! A monthly show, we'll be featuring news, views and opinion on the built environment sector. In episode 1, Andy Mitchell (Director of Energy Services at Stroma Built Environment) and Andrew Parkin (Managing Director at Stroma Certification) discuss the changes to Building Regulations due for release in 2022.

What to expect from the new Building Regulations

We spoke to Jason Foster, Technical Director at Stroma Building Control, who shared his thoughts on the implementation of the new Building Regulations in 2022.

How is Part L being changed?

15th June sees the introduction of some important changes to the Building Regulations as we transition towards net zero carbon buildings and the future buildings standards from 2025. The changes to Part L see the introduction of primary energy assessments to be undertaken in addition to the fabric energy efficiency standards and CO2 emissions targets people are familiar with in current Part L models.

Whilst the use of renewable energy technologies is still not a mandatory requirement in this round of changes, the assessment of primary energy use will certainly steer projects to incorporate renewable technologies such as heat pumps and wider use of photovoltaic technologies in order to achieve a pass in respect to Part L compliance. Therefore where a building is erected it will need to be a ‘nearly zero energy building’ and meet the requirements of Regulations 26, 26A and 26C relating to emissions, fabric energy efficiency and primary energy targets, thereby achieving a minimum standard of total energy performance when assessed against a notional building.

Why has Approved Document O been introduced?

As a separate assessment and introducing a new Approved Document to the suite of current documents, Part O is being introduced in order to deal more adequately with summer overheating which will be a requirement for all new dwellings with the aim of removing excess heat and limiting unwanted solar gains in summer months. The assessment can be undertaken either using a simplified model for single dwellings and those with cross ventilation meeting an appropriate standard, however, in the main it is going to require a dynamic simulation to be undertaken adopting CIBSE TM 59 overheating assessments for dwellings for example in order to demonstrate compliance. These assessments are already widely used in urban environments where there is an increased temperature risk due to the heat island effect but will become more widely required across the country in addition to central London.

In addition, the new Part O needs to be considered carefully in conjunction with the new Part F ventilation document also coming into force in June as there is a need to ensure adequate ventilation levels, whilst limiting overheating, minimising energy use and also dealing with increasing issues related to air quality in buildings. Also, there are safety considerations that need to be borne in mind when designing the facades to take account of increased barrier heights in dwellings for the safe opening of windows which differs from other guidance, ensuring people do not become trapped by mechanisms introduced to control shading to windows and also to provide sufficient security to prevent intruders into the property.

When do the Building Regs changes come into effect?

The proposed timeline for the changes to Parts F, L and new requirements O for overheating and S dealing with electric car charging infrastructure take effect from 15th June 2022 for any application that has not been lodged before this date. The projects that are lodged prior to 15th June 2022 will enjoy a 12 months transitional period in which to commence on site in order to be able to continue under present requirements. Therefore, a meaningful start will be required by 15th June 2023 for all properties forming part of the application in order to be assessed under current guidance with a meaningful start being foundation works or drainage associated with all properties being assessed.