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Architects Declare issues rallying call on Building Regs

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The Architects Declare initiative is urging its 811 signatories to act on the climate emergency by swiftly responding to the government’s consultation on changes to the Building Regulations

In an email sent yesterday (December 18), Architects Declare said the proposed Part L 2020, which covers conservation of fuel and power, was ‘a step backwards just when we need to make a huge leap forward’, adding that it was vital architects make their voices heard.

The AJ’s sustainability editor Hattie Hartman earlier this month identified responding to the proposals as one of three things practices could do now on the climate emergency.

Architects Declare launched last May with an 11-point declaration by 17 Stirling Prize winners. In its email, it called for a ‘strong response’ from the profession and said influencing these regulations was ‘the greatest change’ an architect could personally make in terms of cutting carbon emissions.

The email pointed out that the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI), working with UKGBC, CIBSE and RIBA, had already identified what needed to change with Part L in order to ensure that all new buildings are net zero carbon by 2030 and designed to this standard by 2025.

It suggested architects either sign up to LETI’s key messaging or ‘better still, if you have a little more time’, submit a full response to the Part L consultation using LETI’s template response as a guide through the online response form.

Hartman pointed out that the new Part L will last until 2025, adding: ‘The proposed revisions to Part L reveal a curious lack of ambition and no joined-up thinking.

‘Fabric performance is likely to get worse – a home in 2020 could be less insulated than a home under the 2013 Building Regulations.’

Elementa Consulting associate Clara Bagenal George, who initiated LETI, said: ‘We have got just 10 years to make a difference so we need a clear trajectory. This consultation will affect our future buildings and we need to move to net-zero very quickly.

‘This will really affect architects because low-energy design is clearly in their realm.’

Levitt Bernstein’s head of sustainability Clare Murray said: ‘While many architects will be changing their lifestyle to save a turkey from their dinner plate this Christmas, we should also be seriously considering our impact as professionals.

‘This is our opportunity to have a say and give the gift of a meaningful Part L. We know how to design energy efficient buildings – so let’s all respond to the consultation and get it put into regulation.’

Sunand Prasad, co-founder of Penoyre & Prasad and former RIBA president, said: ’The Part L proposals out for consultation threaten a set back to the zero carbon effort when it badly needs to be accelerated.

’Informed lobbying about building legislation does not come naturally to most architects but we must now seriously engage and not leave it to others.’

The consultation on Part L and Part F – part of the government’s Future Homes Standard – ends in early February.

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