Building Regulations Update

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written statement – made on 19th January 2021.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

I am today announcing a package of changes in relation to Part L and F of the Building Regulations. This includes the Government’s Response to the 2019 Future Homes Standard consultation and the launch of the Future Buildings Standard consultation.

40% of the UK's energy consumption and carbon emissions arise from the way buildings are lit, heated and used, and homes - both new and existing – account for 22% of emissions. Therefore, if we are to meet our ambitious target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, we must improve the minimum energy efficiency standards of new buildings and homes. By improving energy efficiency and moving to cleaner sources of heat, we can reduce carbon emissions, lower energy consumption and bills for households and ensure that we will be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.

I am publishing the Government’s response to the Future Homes Standard consultation of 2019. This was the first stage of a two-part consultation which proposed an ambitious uplift in the energy efficiency of new homes through changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations.

The Future Homes Standard will deliver a considerable improvement in energy efficiency standards for new homes. We expect that homes built to the Future Homes Standard will have carbon dioxide emissions 75-80% lower than those built to current Building Regulations standards, which means they will be fit for the future, with low carbon heating and very high fabric standards. The interim uplift to energy efficiency requirements will act as a stepping stone towards the full Future Homes Standard, and should result in a meaningful and achievable 31% in carbon emissions savings compared to the current standard. We anticipate that a two-stage approach to implementing the Future Homes Standard will help to prepare the necessary supply chains and appropriately skilled workforce by encouraging the use of low-carbon heating in new homes, while accounting for market factors.

The Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution noted that we must implement the Future Homes Standard within the shortest possible timeline. Therefore, our priority will be to implement an interim uplift to the energy efficiency requirements for new homes and non-domestic buildings as swiftly as possible. This key stepping stone will enable us to successfully implement the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard. We have also listened to those stakeholders that called for a swifter and more certain pathway to implementation. Our work on a full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard has been accelerated and we will consult on this in 2023. We also intend to introduce the necessary legislation in 2024, with regulations coming into force from 2025. In the meantime, to provide greater certainty for all stakeholders, we have published a draft notional building specification for the Future Homes Standard alongside this consultation response which provides a basis on which we can begin to engage with all parts of industry on the indicative technical detail of the Future Homes Standard.

To ensure as many homes as possible are being built in line with new energy efficiency standards, transitional arrangements will now apply to individual homes rather than an entire development and the transitional period will be one year. This approach will support implementation of the 2021 interim uplift and as such the successful implementation of the Future Homes Standard from 2025.

I am also publishing today the Future Buildings Standard, which is the second stage of the two-part consultation. This consultation builds on the Future Homes Standard consultation by setting out energy and ventilation standards for non-domestic buildings, existing homes and to mitigate against overheating in residential buildings.

The Future Buildings Standard consultation proposes changes to the Building Regulations and primarily covers new and existing non-domestic buildings. This includes an interim uplift of Part L and Part F requirements for new and existing non-domestic buildings. The interim uplift will also encompass existing homes, meaning that when works take place in an existing home, such as an extension to a property, the work carried out will need to meet the standards set by building regulations – these requirements will not apply to the wider building. It also proposes some changes to requirements for new homes, including to the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard; some standards for building services; and to guidance on the calibration of devices that carry out airtightness testing. Finally, it details a new standard for mitigating overheating in new residential buildings.

Together, the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard set out a pathway towards creating homes and buildings that are fit for the future; a built environment with lower carbon emissions; and homes that are adapted to the overheating risks caused by a warming climate. By making our homes and other buildings more energy efficient and embracing smart and low carbon technologies, we can improve the energy efficiency of peoples’ homes and boost economic growth while meeting our targets for carbon reduction.

I am depositing a copy of the Government Response to the 2019 Future Homes Standard consultation and the Future Buildings Standard consultation in the House Libraries.