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Government dithers over Part L update

Due to be announced in May, experts now say revised Part L is unlikely to appear until April 2014

The roadmap for changes to Part L was supposed to be published in May 2013, however proposed changes have not yet been revealed and professionals are concerned the delay could signal a further watering down of environmental targets, putting zero carbon plans at risk.

Speaking to The AJ’s sister title Construction News a DCLG spokesperson insisted ‘there was no delay’ with the revisions to Part L regulations.He told Construction News: ‘They will be out shortly. That’s all I can say.’

However changes to the Building Regulations are usually made in the months of April or October, and the lack of news regarding Part L has led industry experts to believe changes will not now be introduced until April 2014.

The hold-ups have been criticised for causing problems to architects, developers and product manufacturers, who have been gearing up for the change in policy.

The Coalition renewed its commitment to zero carbon in this year’s Budget, promising that a detailed plan and response to consultations on energy efficiency requirements in the Building Regulations.

The UK-GBC has called on the government to renew their target for all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC, said: ‘It’s been almost three months since the government restated its commitment to zero carbon, promising an announcement by May. Yet two weeks on from this date we are still in the dark about the future direction of this essential policy.

‘What builders need is certainty - and this is anything but. While the Coalition continues to dither over zero carbon, product manufacturers and the supply chain are losing out, putting jobs and much needed growth in the construction sector at risk.’

Matt Mahony, policy executive at the British Woodworking Federation agreed: ‘The government is caught in a balancing act and will have been trying to ensure that the new rules, which are meant to fit in with plans to ensure all new homes are zero carbon from 2016, are also compatible with the Coalition’s stated aim to reduce excessive and costly regulation on businesses.

‘For joinery businesses wanting to know how these changes will affect the energy performance of the products that they manufacture, the advice, as before, is to ‘watch this space’’

WSP’s sustainability director David Bownass added: ‘Given the lack of ambition in the proposed Part L 2013 changes, particularly for dwellings, and the uncertainty in even implementing a small step towards the Fabric Energy Efficiency (FEE) standard in 2013, the already “watered down” zero carbon proposals in 2016 must be in jeopardy. The delay only adds to the uncertainty and undermines the Government’s own ambitions for growth through construction’.

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