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'Keep using old Part L' is the advice, as software hold-up adds further delays

Building control officers have been told to continue applying the old Part L criteria because software needed to check compliance with the new regulations is not yet available.

Speaking at a recent conference, Steve Broughton, the financial director for the Local Authority Building Control (LABC), announced that officers should still rely on the existing 2002 Part L regulations until October to allow for the new 'accredited' SBEM software to be fully installed.

The move is the latest in a long line of hold-ups for the new regulations, which deal with the energy performance of buildings.

The government had originally announced it would introduce changes to Part L on 1 January 2005, to coincide with the implementation of the European Union's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

However, the date was pushed back until April this year and now the full implementation of the regulations has been effectively delayed for another five months.

The news did not come as a surprise to architect Greg Lomas, co-founder of practice Foster Lomas, who says he has not been impressed by the transition to the new Part L rules.

He said: 'The building control officers do not appear to fully understand the regulations or how to interpret them, so it's difficult to see how they can be properly applied.

'The fact that there is no software to easily do the required calculations only compounds the situation.'

by Richard Waite

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