Part L 2016 Fast Approaching?
Believe it or not, 2016 is fast approaching. In fact the government may be running out of time if Part L 2016 is to become a reality.
If Part L 2016 does come through, then a bit like Part L 2013, it would most likely come into force in 2017 anyway. So, there is still time…but only just.
Here’s how an approximate timetable could look:
January 2015: Consultation starts
April 2015: Consultation closes, then 6 months for DCLG to develop proposals
October 2015: Firm proposals signed-off
6 months of pre-election purdah?
April 2016: Possible General Election
6 months of ministerial re-shuffles / finding feet
October 2016: Part L publication
6 months gap pre-implementation
April 2017: Implementation
We do know that the Government has continued to state that they are committed to the 2016 target, which had cross party support when it was made (albeit back in 2007). So, if that is the case, then there are just 12 months to get started and develop proposals.
There will inevitably be noises to delay with calls of ‘we don’t know what Part L 2013 means yet’ or ‘it’s too early to change’, but we have all known the timetable for Part L, so what’s the excuse? Then there’s the small point of a General Election with the enforced inactivity (Purdah) beforehand and transitional flux between new and old ministers or governments afterwards which can affect the time available. There is a risk, of course, that all of this may mean a delay to 2019.
So, what could a ‘good’ Part L 2016 look like?
Potentially, there could be transitional arrangements introduced on a dwelling-by-dwelling basis rather than site by site, so removing the anomaly of using out of date Building Regulations for a whole site. The switch to the new regulations would therefore be more immediate – which surely has to be a good thing. The problem is that this would need a change in the regulations themselves, which means that even if the will is there to make a change, it might not happen before 2019.
The general shape of the carbon compliance level for 2016 has been proposed, reviewed, analysed and thoroughly considered – what is needed is political will to commit and some fine tuning.
On the fabric side, just removing the 15% adjustment to the TFEE / DFEE target in L1A 2016 to put in place the low / zero carbon fabric efficiency targets would be a significant step forward and would be easy to implement, never mind any other improvements.
The timescale for implementing a worthwhile and implementable ‘Allowable Solutions’ measure may be too much of a stretch in the available time. If it can be brought in, then by all means, lets do so, but if there isn’t sufficient time, then lets at least get the rest of the job done. Kingspan Insulation Ltd is in favour of holding firm with the commitment for ‘zero / nearly zero carbon homes by 2016’ with an associated change to Building Regulations approved documents (Part L) in 2016 to enable this. Manufacturers and house builders have long been aware of the timescale and considerable work has been undertaken in order to ensure that solutions are available to achieve this aim.
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