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Watts Bulletin (Issue 142)

Welcome to the latest issue of the Watts Technical Bulletin. Now the summer has come to an abrupt end and the industry is back in full work mode, we are faced with a swathe of new Regulations and guidance to read and digest. Unfortunately this autumn will not now see the launch of the new Part L of the Building Regulations. Instead we will have to wait until next April for what is being considered in some quarters to be a watered down version of the government’s original proposals. Will we still be able to meet the 2016 zero carbon target? What about existing property – will the Green Deal have the impact the government is hoping for? Only time will tell. 
There is also criticism of the proposed Flood Re insurance scheme, finally drafted by the government and the ABI after long drawn out negotiations earlier this year. According to new research, the two organisations haven’t done their homework properly. They have forgotten to take climate change into account when calculating the size of the fund that will be needed to provide cover for high risk housing. See below for more on this. Also in this issue, we look at the new edition of the BBP Green Lease Toolkit and a new guide to retail lighting from the BRE. Finally, Planning Minister Nick Boles has launched online planning guidance which reduces and streamlines more than 7,000 pages of documents, bringing them together in one place. And that has to be a good thing.

Watts Bulletin (Issue 142)

Part L delayed until 2014

The government announced in the summer that the long-awaited new Part L of the Building Regulations will be further delayed and won’t come into force until April next year. The changes, published more than a year after the consultation on Part L closed, will mean that new build homes will be 6% more energy efficient – 2% less than originally proposed.

September Bulletin Main

The government has also scaled down proposals for commercial buildings, which will now be 9% more energy efficient rather than the 20% hike in standards that was originally suggested.
Commenting on the proposals, Baroness Hanham said the new Part L Regulations were a “step towards our zero carbon ambitions...They strike a balance between the government’s ongoing commitments to improving energy efficiency requirements and ensuring that the overall effect of regulation upon consumers and businesses does not stifle growth.”

According to the Department for Communities and Local government (DCLG) the new energy standards will cut £200 on the fuel bills of anyone living in a typical new build home and could save large businesses more than £60k when compared to build standards before 2010.

The measures coming into force in April 2014 mean new homes and non domestic buildings will have to include energy saving features such as better fabric insulation and more efficient heating and lighting.
There have been fears in the industry that the delay in bringing in the proposed changes will make it harder to meet zero carbon targets for house building. However, the Government claims it is still on track to deliver its Budget commitment to making all new homes zero carbon from 2016 in England.

No changes are being made to the rules that apply to existing homes. Building a conservatory or extension will not a trigger a requirement, known as ‘consequential improvements’, for homeowners to carry out energy improvements throughout their property. Instead, the DCLG emphasises that owners of existing homes and buildings can benefit from the Green Deal, which provides government support to homeowners wishing to fit energy saving measures such as insulation and solar panels.

For more information, go to

To find out more about Part L delayed until 2014, contact Ian Laurie, Director at Watts Group PLC, on 0161 831 6180.

What are your views on the further delay of the long-awaited new Part L of the building Regulations? Let us know your thoughts on Watts’ Twitter page or join the Watts Bulletin group on LinkedIn.

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.