Whether you are having a new addition built, building a home yourself, remodelling a historic building, or installing a new kitchen or bathroom, the work being done must comply with current building rules. The U.K. government has announced a series of amendments to the present Building Regulations that will go into effect in 2022.

What are building regulations?

Building regulations are essential requirements for practically every building’s design, construction, and changes. The U.K. government creates the regulations, and the Parliament then approves them.

The new building regulations aim to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050. They include lowering the maximum CO2 emissions by buildings and raising the bar for current overheating, fabric, and ventilation regulations. 

How will these changes impact you? 

Let’s jump in.

What’s Included in Building Regulations?

Building Regulations

Structure integrity, fire safety, accessibility, energy performance, acoustic performance, fall protection, electrical safety, and gas safety are some specific themes covered in building rules. 

They also provide criteria for ventilation, defense against water intrusion, and protection against contaminants like radon and methane.

The goal of building regulations is to safeguard people’s welfare, health, and safety within and around structures. The regulations aim to protect and enhance the environment, promote sustainable development, and encourage the conservation of fuel and electricity.

However, the approved documents that makeup Building Regulations are not static. They change as housing policy does, and as of June 15, 2022, there are significant modifications to be aware of.

Why Are Building Regulations Updated?

The updated building regulations mark a crucial milestone in the U.K.’s journey for a greener, cleaner built environment. Heating and electricity make up about 40% of all energy used in the U.K., according to data from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The new building rules are introduced to bring the U.K.’s carbon emissions down to zero by 2050.

The regulations mark a significant advancement toward the Future Homes and Building Standard project, which will take effect in 2025. The updated rules are a band-aid until the Future Homes Standard is implemented, which will bring about stricter adjustments to make buildings more energy efficient.

When Did New Building Regulations Come Into Effect?

The New National Building Regulations came into effect in June 2022. The new regulations will substantially affect persons planning to construct, expand, or modify homes, as well as architects and other professionals in the field.

The modifications, first announced in December 2021, are supported by a £6.6 million direct investment in enhancing buildings’ energy efficiency.

The new regulations are in effect from June 2022, however, a one-year grace period currently exists. Thus, if your project received Building Regulations permission before June 15, 2022, the old requirements continue to apply. However, you have until June 15, 2023, to start the work before the approval expires.

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Read more: Sustainable Building Design: The Key Principles

Which Buildings Are The New Building Regulations For?

The new building regulations cater to 3 types of buildings: new residential structures, existing residential structures, and buildings other than dwellings. Each building type must comply with a set of new regulations. They include:  

New Residential Structures

  1. The carbon emissions from all newly constructed residences must be reduced by 30%. This is a significant step toward the objective of having all new homes be prepared for net-zero energy use by 2050.
  2. The problem of home overheating has been addressed in a new Approved Document, Part O. The Simplified Method and Dynamic Thermal Analysis are the two ways of compliance listed in the new regulations. 
  3. Adoption of the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard, a suggested upper limit on the energy required for space heating and cooling in zero-carbon dwellings. This measures the energy efficiency of new dwellings by considering factors including fabric U-values, thermal bridging, external heat gain, and more.
  4. As part of the Part L upgrade, all brand-new and replacement heating systems must be built with a maximum flow temperature of 55°C or less.

Read more: Asbestos at home? Everything you need to know

Existing Residential Structures

  1. An improvement in fixed building services and basic fabric standards.
  2. The design of all new or replacement heating systems must support low-carbon heating, including Ecodesign appliance criteria.
  3. For additions to existing homes, a new whole-house calculation approach has been developed with the addition of a primary energy and fabric energy efficiency meter.
  4. Updates to the ventilation system guidelines.

Buildings Other Than Dwellings

  1. A 27% reduction in emissions from new office and retail buildings, in line with 2050 net-zero objectives.
  2. Updates to the ventilation system guidelines.

What Are The Key Changes In New Building Regulations?

All newly constructed residences must reduce carbon emissions by at least 31% starting on June 15, 2022. All new non-residential structures must cut carbon emissions by at least 27%. 

The revised regulations include new Approved Documents for Overheating (Part O) and Infrastructure for Charging Electric Vehicles (Part S). Besides, they include revisions to Approved Documents Part B (Fire Safety), Part F (Ventilation), and Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power). They contain regulations for both new and old residential structures as well as existing non-domestic buildings, but they are primarily focused on new non-domestic structures.

Part B: Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Part B outlines the fire safety measures that must be followed to protect building occupants, firefighters, and nearby residents in the event of a fire.

It includes standard regulations, including escape routes, the capacity to contain a fire internally to stop it from spreading, and external fire spread. Besides, rules for access for firefighter personnel to the building and its facilities and the presence of internal fire detection and warning systems in a structure are also included.

New fire safety building regulations enhance the ban on combustible materials used in and on the exterior walls of buildings. In addition to apartment buildings, hospitals, student housing, and boarding school dorms, this restriction, which was first implemented in 2018, will apply to hotels, hostels, and boarding homes.

Additionally, these changes outlaw the use of MCM PE, or Metal Composite Material panels with an unaltered polyethylene core, on any new structures. The Building Safety Act 2022 lays out additional standards for fire doors in addition to these modifications.

Part F: Ventilation

Part F of the new building regulations explains ventilation for buildings, including how to maintain indoor air quality and avoid condensation in residential structures.

In a domestic property, ventilation must circulate throughout the entire structure. Extract ventilation must be used in areas of increased humidity or pollution, such as an extractor fan over an oven and purge ventilation. This depends on the area within the property but could simply mean the ability to open a window to air out a room. 

In addition to providing instructions on why ventilation is essential, mandatory checklists will now make it simpler to install mechanical ventilation equipment in both new and existing homes. According to new recommendations, all replacement windows should be equipped with trickle vents.

Part L: Conservation Of Fuel & Power

Ventilation

Only applicable to residences, part L compliance provides current and future guidance on the energy efficiency standards under various building rules. The regulations include details on minimizing heat gains and losses, air permeability and pressure testing, insulation laws, boiler productivity, lighting, and hot water storage systems.

The regulations include established criteria for Carbon Index ratings, solar emissions, heating and ventilation systems, space heating controls, and air conditioning systems.

Part L sets new rules regarding the amount of glazing in extensions. Regulations for adjustments to lighting layout and a new low-flow temperature standard for heating systems are also updated. The maximum flow temperature in a central heating system has decreased from over 75°C to 55°C.

Part O: Overheating

Part O provides recommendations on how to provide means of removing extra heat from residential structures. It addresses the overheating improvement requirements in various building regulations and focuses on overheating mitigation measures.

The new laws now describe the requirement for an adequate method of eliminating surplus heat from the inside environment when designing and constructing structures. They also cover the prevention of undesired solar gains in the summer.

All residential and institutional buildings, including care facilities, student dorms, single-story homes, and high-rise apartment buildings, are subject to Part O compliance regulations.

Part S: Infrastructure For Charging Electric Vehicles

A UK study found that drivers cited a lack of infrastructure as their primary concern when asked why they wouldn’t switch to electric vehicles. Part S of the new building regulations offers technical advice about the installation and charge point requirements in construction to mitigate this issue. 

It applies to newly constructed residential and non-residential structures, buildings undergoing a substantial use change to become residences, newly constructed residential and non-residential structures undergoing significant renovations, and newly constructed or substantially renovated mixed-use structures.

Buildings undertaking these renovations will, at the very least, require the installation of a 7kW untethered E.V. charger or supply cable routes. A 7kW charger will provide around 30 miles of range per hour.

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How To Be Compliant With New Building Regulations?

The Building Regulations Pocket Book: Second Edition was released to help you comply with the updated building regulations. The most recent updates to the U.K. Building Regulations and Planning Laws have been completely incorporated into the new version. This practical guide gives you all the details you require to adhere to the U.K. building regulations.

You need building regulations approval before you start constructing a new project or renovating an existing structure. You can apply for a building regulations approval via:

  1. Full Plan Submission
  2. Building notice
  3. Regularization approval 

An approval certificate, such as a part L compliance certificate, makes sure that you are compliant with new building regulations. 

Final Thoughts

Building rules are a set of requirements intended to ensure that conversions, changes, additions, and new construction are made in a way that produces safe, healthy, and energy-efficient dwellings. 

The new building regulations came into effect in June 2022, and they include updated Part B (fire safety), F (ventilation), and L (conservation of fuel and power). New regulations related to Part O (overheating) and Part S (Infrastructure for charging electrical devices) are introduced.

PlanRadar is a residential construction management software with which you can plan, construct, deliver, or renovate construction projects compliant with new building regulations. 

It can assist in managing various contractors and keeping tabs on everything that is happening on-site. Whether it is a straightforward dwelling complex or intricate mixed-use developments with retail or entertainment spaces, PlanRadar ensures complete regulations compliance. 

Claim your 30-day free trial today.