What are the Part L regulation updates?
Part L building regulation updates relevant to the heating and hot water sector
What Is The Future Homes Initiative And What Is Part L?
Building regulations inside the UK seem to chop and change as much as the UK’s weather, although following these constant changes aren’t as simple as taking an umbrella or raincoat on your travels. Ensuring that your current property or upcoming project is up to the current regulations can be expensive, confusing and lead to a massive headache to say the least.
The latest update to building regulations is a part of the government taking steps towards their Future Homes and Building Standards initiative, in which they’re aiming to have all new builds constructed as zero carbon properties by 2025. There were many updates to building regulations detailed in Part L, Part F, Part O and Part S but the main one we’re concerned with at CGBS is Part L. This is because Part L is what details the changes relevant to heating systems that are going to take effect as of the 15th of June 2022.
What has Part L changed?
There are a variety of changes detailed in Part L but the main one is that all new build properties must produce 31% less CO2 emissions than what was previously acceptable. Drastic changes like this are supported by ongoing government programmes urging people to switch to heat pumps instead of boilers as they are statistically more efficient and produce less carbon.
The next major change is regarding the currently accepted minimum seasonal efficiency of direct and indirect-fired water heaters. Direct-fired water heaters will now need to meet a minimum seasonal efficiency of 91% for natural gas boilers and 92% for LPG boilers; indirect-fired water heaters will need 91% minimum seasonal efficiency for both natural gas and LPG. There wasn’t any information detailed on electric and oil boilers, most likely because these types of boilers already have an exceptionally high efficiency rating in comparison to natural gas and LPG (already being considered as first-rate energy efficient).
The final change that is relevant to heating systems is that the maximum flow temperature has been lowered from 75˚C to 55˚C. Lowering the maximum flow temperature will then reduce the energy required to heat the water and subsequently the carbon emissions expelled from heating the water. A lower flow temperature is partly the reason the government is pushing for warm air pumps as they function better at warm but not hot temperatures. Compare this to radiators which often require a much hotter flow temperature to be effective, resulting in a greater amount of energy required and carbon emissions released.
As you probably know already, governments love creating more paperwork and forms for us to fill out and these regulatory changes are no exception! When constructing a new build property that falls under these regulations you will now need to perform an on-site audit with photographical evidence as proof the construction has followed the given design specifications. This evidence will then be used to form part of your BREL report (Building Regulation Part L report), which is a report detailing the properties compliance with the new regulations.
Are there any exceptions to the Part L regulation updates?
Now it wouldn’t be physically possible to make every building abide by these regulations, nor would it be practical to expect every existing building to follow the changes either. If so it would cost domestic home owners thousands and business owners a small fortune to retrofit their properties, something that wouldn’t be ideal given the current economic climate. The regulation updates will only apply to new build properties that apply for planning permission after the 15th of June 2022. Buildings already in place are excused from these changes as are construction projects that applied for planning permission before the 15th of June 2022, as long as they start construction before the 15th of June 2023. Another exception will be for properties that have been deemed unsuitable for condensing boilers by the Building Control Body. In these circumstances a minimum seasonal efficiency of 80% will be required for natural gas and 79% for LPG.
How can you be sure?
If you have an ongoing project or are planning to start one then we always recommend contacting your local council for further information as everyone’s circumstances / properties are unique and may require different standards to be met. You should also contact your council as local governments still have the ability to set their own higher efficiency standards if they deem necessary. Any boiler installed by CGBS will meet these minimum seasonal efficiency ratings and maximum flow temperatures, although you will have to ensure the property meets the 31% lower carbon emissions detailed in Part L.