Stronger Building Regulations

The Trust has recently responded to a government consultation on Future Homes and Future Buildings Standards. Our response can be seen on our Consultations page.

The government’s aim with the Future Homes and Future Buildings Standards is to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of new homes and non-domestic buildings. Energy efficiency requirements for new homes and non-domestic buildings are set by Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part 6 of the Building Regulations 2010. The consultation sets out the government plans for achieving the new standard, with technical proposals for changes to the Building Regulations, the associated Approved Document guidance and calculation methods. The Trust’s response focusses on answering the questions in a way which would hasten the adoption of the highest standards for insulation and energy consumption. Building Regulations should be the minimum standards for buildings. These higher standards need to be supported by stronger design codes so that there is no lowering of design standards and of the aesthetic considerations of proposals.

Linked with this, the Trust has also responded to Durham County Council’s second consultation on its Solar Energy Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Our response focussed on how to design new buildings to facilitate and optimise energy generation, solar gain and energy-efficient ventilation, supporting the Building for Life SPD, and the need to require that new builds should incorporate solar energy.

The Trust thinks the new standard and requirements should be brought in as fast as possible. Developers have already had long enough to adapt, and we are in a climate emergency.

The Government has set up the ‘Future Homes Hub’, a non-profit making company limited by guarantee. The role of the Hub is to support the ‘Future Homes Task Force’ which is developing a long-term delivery plan for the new homes sector in line with the Government’s legally binding net zero and wider environmental targets.

Responses by other organisations to the consultation may be of interest, e.g. the ‘Passivhaus Trust’ (PHT), an independent industry leading organisation that promotes the adoption of Passivhaus in the UK, and the ‘Good Homes Alliance’, a non-profit sustainability organisation with over 125 members and partners from across the built environment sector.

Some local authorities have updated their local plans to require even higher building standards, backed up with evidence, and these seem to have survived the examination process. So houses in Cornwall and Bath and North-East Somerset will be required to be substantially better than those at Sniperley. These authorities made the changes in 2021.

Cornwall Council: Technical Evidence Base For Policy Sec 1 – New Housing

Bath and North East Somerset: Local Plan Partial Update Viability Study