In a continuation of our blog on Tuesday, we look at some of the other areas where changes are due.
The amended regulations look at ventilation in buildings.
For extensions to existing buildings where we are able to use simple natural ventilation the process will be simplified and more straightforward as the revised part F deals with the requirements for background or trickle ventilation room by room instead of the whole property which is more in line with the processes used elsewhere in the UK.
While natural ventilation can also still be used in new build properties the revised Part F combined with the changes to Part L we covered previously will tend to push these much more towards MVHR (mechanical vent with heat recovery) systems as the buildings are likely to require to be too well sealed for natural ventilation to work adequately. Here, the revised part F requires significantly higher ventilation rates than those currently required (up to 45% higher). However, the design methodology behind the systems described in part F still lacks much of the subtlety and responsiveness of the MVHR systems required alternatives such as Passivehaus which means that many of the issues experienced by occupants will likely continue.
Electric charging points
Part S is being introduced to ensure that there is provision for electric car charging points in properties.
When considering alterations to an existing residential property the vast majority are unlikely to be affected by this part of the building regulations unless there is multi occupancy as it will only apply if there are 10 or more spaces. Even for some of the larger properties which generally PLG will deal with, the parking area is unlikely to accommodate more than 10 cars. That said, if we are renovating and adapting a property which may have an annex for carers, there may be the possibility that the number of spaces does get closer to 10 and thought should be given as to whether provision for charging points should be included. That said, and whilst we feel that electric vehicles still have some evolving to do before they are totally part of everyday life, we are looking to future proof each project to make sure that this is something easily added at a later date.
For new builds the rules are different in general all new residential buildings should have a charging point installed at the time of construction unless it would increase the grid connection cost by the figure noted in part S.
Where a change point is required part S requires it to be able to supply at least 7kW which is the maximum the standard home’s electric grid connection can deal with this is generally adequate to recharge most currently available electric cars overnight. Higher capacity chargers would require a more expensive 3 phase connection to the electricity grid.
In practice as we approach the ban of the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines it is likely that most, if not all, of our clients are going to require a charging point to be fitted.
An interesting development in the new regulations is the new part O ‘overheating’ which requires provision in new build properties only to counter overheating alterations to existing building are not covered, even though they can also suffer from overheating.
Generally, this will apply only in urban areas of cities and certain suburban areas of London and is aimed at countering overheating in buildings where living spaces heat up quickly and are very slow to cool down.
For detached buildings in most of the country a simplified approach is likely to be sufficient which can include measures such as the addition of external shutters, which are commonplace on the continent, but which have generally not been used in the UK, or solar shading to windows. Combine this with larger windows and the effect is likely to be enough to comply with this part of the regulations. For more awkward or complex dwelling such as where you donâ€™t have opening windows on at least 2 opposite sides or have no opening windows this will require a more complex calculation method.
PLG Architect Adam Oakley comments,
The main changes in the Building Regulations will, rather predictably, affect energy efficiency of homes, but the other amendments may give us an indication as to what further changes will be envisaged in the future. PLG always likes to be ahead of the curve so will consider how we can most effectively ensure that our projects are future proofed given the current direction of travel that we see in these Building Regulation changes.
We’re clearly in a fast moving world where there are going to be much increased loads on electricity so we’re assessing all of our projects to look at the future proofing element wherever we possibly can.
What is apparent, and we’re sure this is not going to be a surprise to our regular readers, is that all of these points are going to have an upwards effect on construction costs which are already pulled pillar to post. Whilst some of these changes will make savings over the long term, the additional costs will still need to be factored in at the outset of any construction project.