Building Regulations Consultation

The Department for Communities and Local Government is looking consultation on changes to the building regulations in England.
The intention is to streamline the Building Regulations in order to deliver safer and more sustainable buildings. There is also an intention to reduce the costs to business.
The consultation is the next step to improve the energy efficiency of new homes and in particular to introduce zero-carbon emissions for homes from 2016. There are four sections to the consultation which include;
1. The consultation approach and proposals to change various technical aspects of the regulations.
2. Proposals to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.
3. Proposals changes to electrical safety in homes.
4. Changes to the building control system.
Section four contains proposals for;

1. Improving private sector Approved Inspector arrangements, including removing the Warranty Link Rule
2. Extending the competent person self-certification schemes framework and introducing specialist third party certification schemes
3. Introducing ‘Appointed Persons’ to act as compliance co-ordinators on construction sites.

Have your say by visiting the Planning Portal. Consultation is open to the 27th April 2012. The proposed changes are significant so it is worth having a look.

Proposed improvements to SAP 2012

The Building Research Establishment on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change has launched a public consultation on the latest proposed changes to SAP – the Standard Assessment Procedure for the Energy Rating of Dwellings.

The prrpose of the new SAP 2012 will be to underpin the 2013 update of Part L of the Building Regulations. Proposals cover the treatment of boiler systems, the use of regional weather data, default heat pump performance, pipe insulation and thermal bridging.The proposals also include amendments to CO2 emission factors so as to include the global warming impact of CH4 and N2O emissions as well as CO2.

Energy Bill includes new proposals for energy efficiency standards

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has announced plans to introduce regulations to ensure that all landlords will have to comply with minimum energy efficiency standards under the Green Deal.

Announced at Second Reading of the Energy Bill on 10th May, proposals put forward include:

• From April 2016 landlords will not be able to refuse reasonable requests from tenants, or local authorities acting on behalf of tenants, to improve their property;

• From April 2018 the government will make it unlawful to rent out a house or business premise which has less than an “E” energy efficiency rating, ensuring at least 682,000 properties will have to be improved.

Commencement order for parts of the Localism Act

Key measures from the Government’s Localism Act have come into force following a Parliamentary commencement order.

These include planning changes to the enforcement rules: a first step in the process to give councils the ability to take action against people who deliberately conceal unauthorised development in preparation for commencement of the substantive provisions in April 2012.

Also clarified are the rules on predetermination: these free councillors to express their opinions on issues of local importance without the fear of legal challenge. This had been a source of much concern for members sitting on planning committees.

Former Cadbury site earmarked for homes

Taylor Wimpey has signalled plans to build 700 new homes on the former Cadbury factory site at Keynsham near Bristol. The volume house builder also wants to develop 20,000 sq m of commercial floor space and other facilities at the 220-acre site. Following local consultation the developer hopes to submit a master plan later this year.

Changes to listed building consent regime planned

Significant changes to the listed building regime have been highlighted as a priority in a progress report on the Government’s implementation of the Penfold Review of non-planning consents.
The measures involve a move by the Government to reduce the number of unnecessary applications by legally defining a listed building’s special interest so only those parts of a building that contribute to its special interest are protected by regulation. The aim is to remove the requirement to apply for consent for works that impact other parts of the building.
The Government also plans to enable developers to seek a Certificate of Immunity (COI) from listing or scheduling at any time, valid for five years. This would change the existing arrangements whereby COIs are only issued in relation to listing and after the developer has applied for planning permission.
In addition the Government has proposed to allow owners of listed buildings and local authorities to enter into Statutory Management Agreements and enable works specified in such agreements to be undertaken without the need for separate applications.
To reduce the paperwork involved, the Government is planning to remove the requirement for Conservation Area Consent when demolishing unlisted buildings, and make this subject to planning permission instead.
The Government has signalled that it will consult on options for introducing a system of prior approval for specified types of works to listed buildings. Under the system Listed Building Consent would be deemed granted if the local planning authority does not respond to a developer’s notification by requesting a full application within a specified time period.
Ministers have also announced consultation on options for allowing certification of applications for Listed Building Consent by accredited independent agents.
To provide greater certainty to the owners of listed buildings and reduce the cost to local authorities of enforcement, the Government will consult on legally defining circumstances in which minimum compensation should be payable when listed buildings are subject to compulsory purchase.