Northern Ireland Regulations 2012

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Northern Ireland’s Technical Booklets, Part F1 & F2 (2012) ‘Conservation of Fuel and Power in dwellings’ and ‘buildings other than dwellings’, were revised last year, with changes from the 31st of October 2012.

The previous Technical booklets guidance (Parts F1 and F2 (2006)), were pretty much equivalent to the ‘old’ England & Wales various Part’s L approved documents (2006 regulations L1A, L1B, L2A and L2B).

This latest change brought the Northern Ireland booklets into line with the England and Wales Part L 2010 guidance, which came into effect two years ago.

Transitional arrangements apply  for this latest change to the Northern Ireland technical booklets and the previous requirements will continue to apply for any developments where plans were deposited (in accordance with those regulations), before 31st October 2012.

It will probably be late 2014, or early 2015, before larger volumes of houses are commonly built to Technical Booklet Part F1 (2012) – assuming the economy picks up of course, to provide the necessary stimulus for new dwellings to be built… 

Below is a summary of the key revisions for New build dwellings

Achieving compliance via TER/DER calculations will be harder as the target has been reduced by 25% from 2006 levels.

In order to demonstrate compliance with the October 2012 Building Regulations, SAP 2009 must now be used.

The area weighted U-Value limits were tightened.

northern irleand building regulations table

The above are limiting values, NOT what is required to pass, a compliant dwelling under SAP would need to target much improved levels to achieve TER/DER compliance; Actual requirements will vary by building size and shape, proposed fabric specification, targeted air tightness, ventilation proposals, targeted servicing strategy and level of renewable technologies proposed.

An accredited On Construction Domestic Energy Assessor can help guide requirements for specific projects (a list of new build assessors is available via ).

A typical fabric lead approach might target 0.13W/m²K in the roof, 0.18W/m²K in the walls, 0.13W/m²K in the floor.

Kingspan’s Northern Ireland technical department can assist with constructions to achieve these and and other values: 

Party walls are no longer deemed as non-heat loss elements and must now be included. Requirement is either for well sealed (0.20W/m²K) or for solid or filled party wall (0.0W/m²K). However the well sealed option makes it much harder for the dwelling to comply.

Building thermal mass is now included. (Relating to the heat capacity of the building and how it retains heat).

Pressure testing requirements. (Achieving lower values can be harder requiring more attention to detail for design and construction).

Thermal bridging: A default y-value of 0.08 can no longer be used for the adoption of Accredited Construction Details; each junction type must now be measured and a detail length and thermal bridging Psi value assigned. A worst case default is enterable (y=0.15), but this makes a dwelling much harder to pass. The upshot being that bridging at junctions requires much more consideration.

Services now allows a primary and a secondary main heating system (where applicable), and air conditioning systems are now included.

The full benefit of Low energy lighting is now considered towards meeting the TER target, with a minimum requirement of at least 75% of light fittings.

Default electric secondary heating no longer assumed. Previously it was assumed that 10% of the heat in the property came from direct acting electric heaters, thereby significantly increasing the DER. In the new technical booklet, this assumption has been omitted (unless the dwelling has a chimney or flue and no appliance is installed, in which case default penalties are applied).

A design submission including TER/DER calculation and supporting list of specifications is now required prior to commencement of works on site to facilitate district council checking that what is designed is actually built.

Once work is completed, an As-built calculation and Energy Performance Certificate is then required.

Dwellings assessed under previous regulations, requiring Energy Performance Certificates for a completed dwelling, will require those to be produced using SAP2009 (previously produced SAP calculations will need to be updated to SAP 2009 before the EPC is lodged – compliance is still via the previously applicable regulations however).

The regulations improvements are a reasonable step forward, but one questions why they are two years behind the England and Wales ones – especially considering they are pretty much the same.

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Jon Ducker is a qualified energy assessor working for Kingspan Insulation Ltd. He has an extensive knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy systems and sustainability in buildings with an expert knowledge of the relevant sections of buildings regulations and standards and their interactions with SAP. He provides authoritative advice regarding energy assessments for a wide range of public and private sector clients.

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