Review of Building Regulations and Housing Standards

Don Foster the new Communities Minister has brought together a group of building experts, with a mission to simplifying the rules and regulations that control building in order to simplify the existing system for developers, builders and householders. This in part will facilitate efficiencies and promote economic growth.
The strategy forms part of the on-going process to reduce red tape and to go some way in satisfying the need for new build homes.
As with all these reviews the intention is to reduce regulation and make the process of building less burdensome. We will see if that occurs.
The group intends to provide a report to the government in the spring and I will keep you advised as matters progress.
Mr Foster stated that ” an urgent review has now started, bringing the Government together with house builders, planners, councils and architects to establish what the unnecessary measures are that we can cut out of the system, whilst ensuring buildings are still made to exacting standards.”

Developing contaminated land – new guidance

Revised regulations and guidance over the development of contaminated land have been laid before Parliament by DEFRA. It has been brought about by the fact that the existing system is unclear, unwieldly and bureaucratic.
The new rules are subject to Parliamentary approval and won’t come into force until 6 April.
The new statutory guidance should be more usable for those that deal with land contamination and remediation.
A new four-category test has been developed to clarify when land does and does not need to be remediated.
It is hoped that local authorities will be able to deal with low risk sites more quickly.

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.