19 Jul 23 by James Gibb
Building Regulations June 2022 Updates
What are they and why are we talking about them a year later?
The Building Regulations cover a wide range of topics from fire safety and structural safety to accessibility and energy efficiency. In June 2022 some major changes were implemented to the regulations, primarily targeting Part B: Fire Safety, Part F: Ventilation, Part L: Conservation of Fuel & Power; and adding Part O: Overheating, and Part S: Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. These updates cater to three types of building – new residential buildings, existing residential buildings, and new commercial buildings. Each of these building types must comply with a new set of regulations. The general changes are as follows:
New Residential Buildings
- The carbon emissions of all newly constructed dwellings must be reduced by at least 30%, which is a step towards the 2050 goal of net-zero energy usage.
- Methods of measuring a new residential buildings compliance with overheating has been confined to The Simplified Method and Dynamic Thermal Analysis within Part O.
- Adoption of the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard, which is a proposed upper limit on the energy required for space heating and cooling in zero-carbon dwellings. This will consider factors such as fabric U-values, thermal bridging, external heat gain, and more to measure the energy efficiency of new dwellings.
- All new heating systems must be built with a maximum flow temperature of 55°C or below as part of the Part L updates.
Existing Residential Buildings
- There is an update to the standards for fixed building services and basic fabric.
- New or replacement heating systems must support low-carbon heating.
- Updates to the guidelines surrounding ventilation systems.
Buildings Other than Dwellings
- The carbon emissions of all newly constructed buildings other than dwellings must be reduced by at least 27%, which to line up with the timeline of the 2050 goal of net-zero energy usage.
- Updates to the guidelines surrounding ventilation systems.
Why are we talking about the changes a year later?
While the new regulations were passed in June 2022, a year’s grace period was included which expired on 15th June 2023. This meant that if your project had received Building Regulations approval before 15th June 2022, the old requirements would apply. However, you would have had until 15th June 2023 to start the works before approval expired. That means any applications and construction from now on will have to conform to all aspects of the updated regulations.
What are the Key Changes to each of the Updated Building Regulations?
Part B: Fire Safety
Updates to fire safety see the ban on combustible materials used in and on exterior walls extended to boarding homes, hostels and hotels. It also sees an addition to the list of combustible materials used in the exterior walls of buildings, adding Metal Composite Material panels with an unaltered polyethene core (MCM PE).
BS 8644-1 has also been implemented as the new standard for the collection, presentation and management of fire safety information. This standard not only applies to each stage of a project, but also to all of those involved in the design, construction, operation, maintenance and emergency response of the building.
Part F: Ventilation
The updates to ventilation specify how to maintain indoor air quality and avoid condensation in domestic buildings, with requirements such as air flow systems circulating throughout the entire building, and utilising extract ventilation in areas of increased pollution and/or humidity.
Alongside the new requirements, mandatory checklists have been provided to make the installation of mechanical ventilation equipment in both new and existing domestic properties.
New recommendations stipulate that all replacement windows should be equipped with trickle vents.
Part L: Conservation of Fuel & Power
Updates to Part L provide guidance on energy efficiency standards for residential properties. These include details on air permeability and pressure testing, boiler productivity, hot water storage systems, insulation laws, lighting, and minimizing heat gains and losses.
Part L also sets out new rules for the amount of glazing in extensions. Regulations for adjustments to lighting layout also been updated, and the maximum flow temperature of a central heating system has decreased from over 75°C to 55°C.
The most prevalent update to Part L is the new requirement for developers and builders to photograph every aspect of conservation as part of their auditing to prove that the building is fully compliant.
Part O: Overheating
As a new addition, Part O provides recommendations on removing excess heat from residential structures as well as institutional buildings such as care facilities and student dorms. The measures themselves are less styled towards the comfort of the user and more towards the protection of their health and welfare.
Part O uses two methods to calculate overheating. The Simplified Method cross examines various factors such as location and level of glazing to calculate the level of overheating. Thermal Dynamic Muddling uses modelling software to produce a report highlighting the level of overheating and can be used to find more complex solutions.
Part S: Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles
Part S is also a new addition that targets charging and other infrastructure for electric vehicles. It offers technical advice on the installation and charge point requirements in construction. A spend cap of £3600 per dwelling has been set based on the average cost of a new charging point, and if electric charges cant be installed for that cost then the cost must be spent on adding infrastructure allowing for vehicle charging up to the cap amount.
Now that the grace period is over, there are many new factors to consider when designing or renovating a property. With all of the updates it can seem like a minefield to navigate when seeking compliance with any construction projects. With prior thought and planning when approaching a project however, all of these factors can be incorporated in at an early stage. If you would like to have a chat about your needs for Building Regulations, contact our Building Surveying Team.