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Introductory Guide to the Changes in the Building Regulations Part L 2013
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Introductory Guide to the Changes in the Building Regulations Part L 2013


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The next update of the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales is upon us, and this time it is Part L, and the conservation of fuel and power. …

The next update of the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales is upon us, and this time it is Part L, and the conservation of fuel and power.

This handy guide will attempt to break it down to what you need to know, why you need to know it, how to go about finding out more, and why you’re doing all this in the first place.

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  • 1. AN INTRO TO THE CHANGES TO PART L OF THE BUILDING REGULATIONS A GUIDE TO THE CHANGES IN PART L 2013 By © SpecifiedBy 2014 Empowering Building Projects with Better Information
  • 2. Contents 1. Introduction 2. What’s Happening & Why? 3. What Does All This Mean? 4. Considerations for Architects & Designers 5. Compliance Alert! 6. Part L Resources 7. Building Regs Online © SpecifiedBy 2014 Written by Blair Martin
  • 3. The next update of the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales is upon us, and this time it is Part L, and the conservation of fuel and power. This is an area of keen focus as far as carbon emissions are concerned, as it can play a major role in achieving the UK’s self-imposed targets on carbon reduction. The update follows a consultation with industry during 2012, and the new contents were announced in July 2013. Hopefully that means you’ve had plenty of time to get to grips with what exactly is changing – if you’re an architect who is already targeting Code for Sustainable Homes level 4 or BREEAM Excellent buildings then you’ll already be achieving these targets. But just in case you haven’t or if this is in fact the first you’ve heard of it, then this handy guide will attempt to break it down to what you need to know, why you need to know it, how to go about finding out more, and why you’re doing all this in the first place. Darren Lester Founder, SpecifiedBy Introduction
  • 4. WHAT’S HAPPENING & WHY? @SpecifiedBy Part L Changes
  • 5. The new part L regulations will attempt to improve on the standards required to achieve zero carbon homes by 2016 and commercial buildings by 2019. In case you’re not aware, the UK is the first country to set legally binding carbon budgets, and these figures are merely stepping stones to achieving longer term goals. If you already know about carbon budgets, you can probably skip this part. If you don’t, feel free to read on. Carbon Budgets The main target right now is to achieve an 80% reduction of 1990 levels of CO2 emissions by the year 2050. The carbon budget for the UK places a restriction on the total amount of greenhouse gasses that the country can emit over a five year period – if emissions rise in one sector, corresponding falls in another sector need to be achieved. The building sector accounts for a majority of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and residential properties alone currently account for around 15%, while energy supply accounts for around 42%. Something to ponder is that the building industry is potentially influential of (not directly responsible for) up to 47% of the total UK emissions. That’s nearly half of the country’s entire greenhouse gas output, so it is perhaps understandable that the Building Regulations and specifically, the conservation of fuel and power are under the spotlight again. What’s Happening & Why? @SpecifiedBy
  • 6. 6th April 2014 The new regulations come in to force on 6th April 2014, and aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the whole build process, from design to completion. Domestic Residential dwellings require a 6% reduction on 2010 levels, which were themselves a 25% reduction on 2006 levels. This is slightly lower than the proposed 8%, but the Government wanted to achieve a balance between the lower emissions and keeping costs at a commercially realistic level. Non-Domestic Meanwhile commercial properties require a 9% reduction. Wales are going for the 8% reduction on new builds, which incidentally is the first time they’ve gone it alone with their own version. The Government predict that these changes will equate to projected savings of £16m per annum to businesses, and save an additional 6.4 million tonnes of CO2 per annum. If Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance were to sit around a table and thrash out building regulation amendments, then they would probably be like this. What’s Happening & Why? @SpecifiedBy
  • 7. WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? @SpecifiedBy Part L Changes
  • 8. What this actually means for you can be boiled down to just a few main points. There are now new versions of Approved Documents L1A and L2A. Approved documents L1B and L2B have been amended and updated as well, though this is only some minor wording changes and clarifications, and there are new versions of both domestic and non-domestic Building Services Compliance Guides. The main new additional points of the updated L1A Conservation of fuel and power (new dwellings) are: • A new regulation, 26A, has been introduced that requires new dwellings to achieve or better a FEE target in addition to the CO2 target. This equates to around a 15% reduction on FEES levels. New builds will require a DER and a DFEE rate that is no worse than the TER and TFEE as calculated. These targets and calculations must be provided to the local authorities no later than the day before work commences. • The FEES is affected mainly by building fabric u-values and areas, which means that this target will need to be considered from the early building fabric design stage. The main culprits here are roofs, floors, walls, windows and doors, thermal bridging PSI values, air tightness, heat gains from solar energy and lighting and appliances. What this translates to is a slight reduction in u-values and as a rough guide new builds will typically need to achieve the following levels: What Does All This Mean? @SpecifiedBy
  • 9. • The notional dwelling used to determine CO2 and FEE targets must be the same size and shape as the actual dwelling, constructed to a concurrent specification. • If the actual dwelling is constructed entirely to the notional dwelling specs it will meet the targets and limiting values for individual fabric elements and building services. However, developers are free to vary the specs provided the same overall CO2 emissions and FEE is achieved or bettered. • Amendments made in December 2012 are now consolidated. These require the feasibility of high-efficiency alternative systems are taken into account before construction commences. • Guidance for insulation of circular pipes within communal spaces is given greater prominence. @SpecifiedBy What Does All This Mean? Walls 0.18 W/m2K Floors 0.13 W/m2K Roofs 0.13 W/m2K Party Walls 0 W/m2K Air Tightness 5m3/m2/hr at 50 Pa Windows & Doors 1.4 W/m2K (1.0W/m2K for solid & 1.2 W/m2K for opaque Thermal Bridging Lengths x psi values are detailed in SAP 2012
  • 10. The main points of L2A Conservation of fuel and power (new buildings other than dwellings) are: • The notional building used to determine CO2 targets is to be the same size and shape as the actual building, constructed to a concurrent specification. • A wider set of notional buildings is now defined for top-lit, side-lit (heated only) and side-lit (heated and cooled) buildings, and the notional air permeability has been further subdivided by size. • A summary of notional buildings has been published separately with full details in the NCM modelling guide. • Amendments made in December 2012 are now consolidated. These require the feasibility of high-efficiency alternative systems are taken into account before construction commences. @SpecifiedBy What Does All This Mean?
  • 11. SAP 2012 Another change you need to be aware of is the introduction of SAP 2012. The Department of Energy and Climate Change have updated the Standard Assessment Procedure (again, following a consultation) and the new version will be required for compliance from the same date everything else kicks in (April 6th in England and 31st July in Wales). SAP 2012 version 9.92 is available to download for free, and covers the following key technical changes: • Energy related CH4 and N2o emissions will be included as CO2 equivalents. • Related transport emissions will be included in CO2 emission factors. • Energy supply chain emissions to be included no matter where they occur (both inside and outside the UK). • Emission factor to be a system average for both imports and exports of grid supply fuels (instead of a system average value for consumption and a marginal value for exports to the grid) • Wind speed data to be an influencing factor on the basis of dwelling location • Proposals for solar radiation calculations to be based on orientation and pitch have been agreed • RDSAP for existing dwellings will also include the changes. @SpecifiedBy What Does All This Mean?
  • 12. This updated version also followed a consultation. There are a few other changes that may affect you but these are the main changes to give you an idea of what has been included. The full list of what’s been added can be found in the consultation, which is linked at the end of this guide. @SpecifiedBy What Does All This Mean?
  • 14. FEES Perhaps the most significant change to consider is that of the FEES, which aims to minimise heat loss from the building envelope. The target will vary depending on the type of dwelling, and will therefore be more challenging to achieve for types such as end terraces, and will require a more detailed consideration of low u-value materials for windows and doors, better insulation for walls and roofs, reduced cold bridging and a more air-tight structure. On a positive note, the changes should promote a fabric-first design approach as opposed to using renewables as a costly solution to being over target on carbon emissions. These design-level changes will most likely bring about greater coordination between the architect and structural and business services engineers. Therefore risks to project viability and planning success will be reduced as the whole team discusses orientation, fabric and energy strategies at the concept stage in order to meet the required targets; so get the biccies in! @SpecifiedBy Considerations for Architects & Designers
  • 15. Design Stage Considerations A lot of the other additions will need to be considered at the design phase. For example the material you decide to use will be after consideration of achieving the desired u-values and air tightness. Thermal bridging will also be an early consideration of the frame design. Unfortunately these things are likely to make the process more expensive, both in time taken and materials used, so you’ll need to make sure you quote the right price for your time. Also, when carrying out the energy rating, the updated changes and new considerations of SAP 2012 need to be factored in to achieve an accurate and compliant result. @SpecifiedBy Considerations for Architects & Designers
  • 16. COMPLIANCE ALERT! There is a risk of being out of compliance with the new regulations. Here’s how to avoid it. @SpecifiedBy Part L Changes
  • 17. If you registered the build on or before April 6th this year and commence within a year, then the old regulations still apply. Thereafter any buildings that are registered will need to comply with the new regulations. It has been suggested that it is critical that Part L 2016 is drafted now, so the sooner you get to grip with these changes, the better equipped you’ll be to tackle the next round of changes. You’ll also be playing a role in Britain achieving emission targets and therefore helping to save the world, one building at a time, which might give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Or not, but you still have to comply. So this is how to comply: In addition to the five main steps of compliance listed in the most recent Building Regulations, the updated Approved Document L1A contains a separate, specific list for Part L 2013. These are: • The DER from the dwelling must not exceed the TER. Also, the DFEE must not be greater than the TFEE. This is a regulation and hence mandatory, but on the plus side the calculations involved here can also provide information for the energy performance certificate that you’ll also need to provide. @SpecifiedBy Compliance Alert!
  • 18. • The performance of the individual fabric elements and the fixed building services of the building should achieve reasonable standards of energy efficiency. This is to limit inappropriate trade-offs, for example poor heat transfer standards being offset by an uncertain sustainable energy source. • The building should not overheat in summer, and therefore requires passive control measures to limit the effect of heat gains, even if the building is air conditioned. • The performance of the dwelling should be consistent with the DER and DFEE rates. • Necessary provisions for enabling energy-efficient operation of the building should be in place. Full guidance, relevant procedures and all the calculations you’ll need in achieving all of this are detailed in the Approved Documents. In addition to these, you’ll need to remember the dates and what they mean – as a reminder, any building registered before 6th April 2014 and commenced within a year of that date or any building currently under construction can carry on as before. Any other registrations will need to follow the new regulations. @SpecifiedBy Compliance Alert!
  • 19. Part L Resources To finish, here’s a collection of websites and articles worth visiting to learn more about the changes to Part L. @SpecifiedBy Part L Changes
  • 20. This guide is intended as exactly that – a guide. It is not an exhaustive list of the changes, and serves mainly as a starting point to what you should probably know. For full guidance on compliance, dates, calculations, where to download SAP 2012, and anything else that may be necessary, check out the following sites: The new Approved Documents L1A, L1B, L2A, L2B, and both the Domestic and Non-Domestic Building Services Compliance Guides Online Building Regs from SpecifiedBy SAP 2012 Part L consultation SAP consultation Carbon Budgets Policy Government CO2 Emissions Report Part L Resources © SpecifiedBy 2014 Written by Blair Martin
  • 21. Free Online Building Regs “Keeping building designs & projects inline with the correct legislation is a time consuming & challenging task.” It’s not helped by the fact that the documents required to do this are only freely accessible as PDFs. The PDF is limiting, can be hugely frustrating and is most definitely not suited to reading highly technical documents; whether that be on a desktop, tablet or mobile. In short, it's a closed format that makes your job just that little bit more difficult. So wouldn’t it be great to be able to quickly and freely access these documents in a user friendly format, that let's you use the information how you want to and on any device? This is why we’re converting all of the Building Regulation Documents into HTML format, or webpages to you and me, and making them free to access. If you would like to see this in action and be one of the first to access this useful tool visit the link below. Access Online Building Regs