2022 will be a critical time for housebuilders as changes to Part L Building Regs will take effect from 1st June 2022 and aims to deliver a 31% improvement on current sustainability and energy efficiency standards over 2013’s building regulations.
Preparation will be key as the target applies on a per-plot basis, rather than the development site as a whole.
Fabric is the key to any potential Part L solution and it seems the vast majority of housing developers will take this route with technologies such as smart control heaters, ground and air source heat pumps, wastewater systems and depending on house types and sizes, many will be looking at a Solar PV solution to achieve Part L compliance.
There will be a cost for those who delay. Some developers may seek to push back the impact of Part L by commencing footings before June 2022 to minimise the number of plots affected. However, the risk of what they believe to be the extra cost of Part L compliance will almost certainly be offset by the cost of leaving it too late. With solar PV (as well as heat pumps and other technologies) in growing demand, the supply chain could be pushed beyond its limits. There won’t be enough installers to go round, Solar PV panels could be in short supply and suppliers will simply stop taking orders. The earlier developers adopt and implement their Part L solution, the easier it will be for the supply chain to invest, catch up and ensure a smooth transition.
Choosing the most cost-effective renewable technology will be critical. An air source heat pump may meet carbon targets, but the system needs to be used properly for running costs and EPC ratings to remain low. Typically, most people tend not to accept that heat pumps run at a lower temperature and keep turning it up, which will inevitably make them costlier to operate. Solar PV, may be a much more cost-effective solution with no moving parts or user input required.
‘As Built’ checks will become essential. As part of the new regulations, homeowners must receive a Building Regulations England Part L (BREL) compliance report. This report will show homeowners exactly how their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is calculated, incorporating all SAP outputs as well as providing photographic evidence.