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    •  
      CommentAuthorDAI_EVANS
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009
     
    Part L improvements to come at a price
    Proposals for the next revision to Part L are currently sitting on ministers' desks awaiting the go-ahead for publication, with one proposal in particular expected to generate its own political heat. This is the removal of the 1000 m2 threshold for building extensions that requires consequential energy efficiency improvements to be made to the whole property.
    Last time around, when it was proposed in 2002, ministers rejected the idea. Now the government's emissions targets are that much tougher – a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030 from all homes, for instance – but so are the conditions faced by the construction industry.
    Contractors groups are already warning that such an obligation would kill off domestic extension and improvement projects, which are bread-and-butter work for many small architecture practices, at a time when the industry is seeking government support to aid recovery. Climate change campaigners will counter that without such measures the government is left with no credible regulatory tool to force improvements on existing building stock.
    The revisions are scheduled to be in force in England and Wales by April 2010, though those close to the process are already suggesting that introduction might be delayed until October 2010. The overall objective of the revisions is to achieve a further 25% reduction in emissions from new buildings in accordance with the government's road map for zero carbon homes by 2016 and zero carbon non-domestic buildings by 2019.
    Many of the proposals before ministers emerged at CIBSE's national conference, where speakers included Paul DeCort, who is leading the Part L team at the DCLG.
    One of the key themes will be improving compliance. One proposal is that design specifications must accompany all design stage submissions to building control officers so they can verify that actual construction will be in line with design. There will also be new requirements to provide details of commissioning plans for building services, again to ensure that performance lives up to design claims.
    For non-domestic buildings, the 25% emissions reduction target is being aggregated across different building types, recognising that it is easier to achieve cost-effective reductions in some buildings than others. Notional building models will be used, with some building types expected to achieve emissions reductions greater than 25%.
    New emission factors will also be introduced, recognising the climate change impact of different fuels. These are expected to be consulted on separately in the near future.
    However, new caps are on the way for electric heating systems used in off-grid homes, which will have to meet the same permissible emissions rate that would apply if the building used LPG or oil.
    Publication of the proposed revisions to Part L is expected shortly. In the meantime proposed changes to the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for new homes, to meet the forthcoming Part L revisions, have already been released for consultation by the BRE (see below).

    Thermal mass comes of age in SAP 2009
    Underpinning the forthcoming changes to Part L for dwellings will be a revised SAP 2009, just released for consultation and expected to be published towards the end of this year. Many of the changes have been introduced to deal more satisfactorily with the very low energy dwellings that will be designed as regulatory requirements are tightened further.
    From the design point of view, one of the most notable changes is recognition of the role played by thermal mass in reducing heating demand in winter as well as its cooling effect in summer.
    Cooling generally is treated differently in the 2009 edition, with the explicit inclusion of cooling calculations. And energy use calculations are now built up on the basis of monthly variations in the weather and its effects on solar gain and heating/cooling demands.
    In line with the general thrust in the new Part L to recognise the different climate impacts of various fuel types, the new SAP introduces a comprehensive methodology to determine associated CO2 emissions, taking into account extraction, processing and delivery.
    Other changes include different treatments for boilers in summer and winter, energy use by air conditioning systems, hot water use linked to occupancy levels, and heat loss through poorly-constructed party walls. View the SAP 2009 consultation documents at http://www.bre.co.uk/sap2009/page.jsp?id=1642
    • CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009
     
    "new caps are on the way for electric heating systems used in off-grid homes, which will have to meet the same permissible emissions rate that would apply if the building used LPG or oil."

    Can anybody explain what that means?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDAI_EVANS
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009
     
    Has it got something to do with MPs getting new hats as a consolation for having to pay back all the money they've stole, and the heating system is they're anger at being caught, now they have to be like normal people and empty they're wallets instead of everyone elses?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009
     
    quoting from above "and heat loss through poorly-constructed party walls" - I dont suppose that they are telling us what a well constructed party wall is?

    Its their fault that they are poorly constructed in the first place -- the regs virtually require them to be poorly constructed!
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2009
     
    Posted By: tony
    Its their fault
    Who are 'they'? The developers, the architects, the builders or the people who buy the houses?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2009
     
    The regulators.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2009 edited
     
    'The regulators' That's some arm of the Nanny State you want more of, is it?

    I happen to think it is the responsibility of house buyers to specify what they want and developers, architects and builders to come up with the goods.

    Government should be doing a better job of informing and educating the house buyers about the dangers of global warming and setting a price structure for the use of fossil fuels by adopting, for instance, TEQs, so that there is a financial incentive to build right. We would then have smaller but more effective government.

    http://www.teqs.net/
    • CommentAuthordelboy
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2009
     
    Biff - I agree with your wider principle and something based on TEQs, but the Part L consultation is focussed on the existing setup so we have to concentrate on that for now...

    The problem is that the only serious housebuilding going on at the moment is social housing - ie the buyer is the RS landlord who doesn't give a toss about the thermal performance of the dwelling, thus perpetuating the crap buildings we inhabit.

    Furthermore on the whole buyers are not that fussed about a decent thermal envelope - they'd rather pay lower capital cost at the expense of higher (hidden because most people don't analyse it) running costs. This can be reflected in my work where I do L1b assessments of people's extensions etc and invariably they will go for the building regs minimum u-values despite my advice that the heating bills will be higher over time.

    I'm not in favour of big government and jobsworths from the local council interfering any more than anyone else, and teqs could form some of the answer, but for now we have to deal with reality and that reality is that we need jobsworths to keep the developers in check.
    • CommentAuthorpmusgrove
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2009
     
    As a developing manager for an RSL I can say that we care greatly about whole life performance of our properties which means that thermal performance is way up the list. The problem is that the people who set the rent levels and allocate the funding for new builds only concern themselves with the capital cost of build. Words are fine but the real message continues to be build more units for less grant and don't expect to be able to put the rent up either.
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2009 edited
     
    "The problem is that the people who set the rent levels and allocate the funding for new builds only concern themselves with the capital cost of build"

    Then they try to bludgeon some sort of real WLC considerations through using the CSH (which doesn't do the job because the regulatory systems that are behind the CSH don't do WLC properly): It seems to me that the CSH, being drawn up in a period of economic unreality and, being a product of the EWP and the CCB, was never properly reconciled with the older planning documents such as the PPGs: Now those aspirations will I suspect need a massive overhaul to consider economics. In the meantime, everything will grind to a halt.

    Plus of course, to paraphrase Clinton, "it's the existing stock, stupid" (not that anyone here is stupid)

    Sorry:
    RSL: Registered Social Landlord
    CSH: Code for Sustainable Homes
    WLC: Whole life costing
    EWP: Energy White Paper
    CCB: Climate Change Bill
    PPG: Planning policy Guidance
    • CommentAuthorSimonH
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009
     
    I was lobbying CLG from 2007-2008 on this exact issue. Saying that anyone wanting to do an extension should be required to sort out the existing house before being allowed to extend - or in relaity that the extended building should end up with a SAP rating lower than the original building. (That's from someone about to do his own extension). Should be easy in most cases - you are usually losing a badly insulated wall and replacing with a well insualted extension.

    My thoughts are on this, if you have the cash to do an extension, you can afford a new boiler, TRV's / loft insulation top up / cavity fill in existing walls. Those 3 will add about £1000-2000 to a £30,000+ project. Plus when else are you likely to have your radiators drained or be upgrading a boiler to cope with the new house size.

    My thought on "nanny state" are those word don't apply to building regs. Since roman times the state has had to force builders to make houses safe, and now we include "efficient" as well as safe. Developers want to maximise profits by minimising costs. Home owners should not be expected to know about thermal bridging, ventilation, U values and heat recovery, or life cycle analysis of different building materials. Most home owners want a warm spacious home in a nice area.

    It is the job of the building professionals to make "efficienct houses" and they need a level playing field set and enforced by the authorities. Nanny state implies the state intenvening in something they shouldn't - like how to bring up your kids, or telling you what to eat.
    • CommentAuthorbillt
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009
     
    Posted By: SimonH
    My thought on "nanny state" are those word don't apply to building regs. Since roman times the state has had to force builders to make houses safe, and now we include "efficient" as well as safe.


    Part P springs to mind - nanny state at its worst. It won't save any lives and it is very difficult to see what benefit it brings to anyone.

    The windows replacement rule is another unwarranted interference. Unless you have enormous windows, or an otherwise abnormally well insulated house the heat loss from windows is a relatively small proportion of the total heat loss, yet if you need to replace a window, even as part of normal maintenance, you have to get permission to do it. The BR fee will never be repaid by the fuel savings.

    Having looked at the fees charged for BR approval I am beginning to think that it is just another tax raising opportunity.
  1.  
    I agree with increased regulation on building standards but,
    these fees and regs would make more sense if non compliance was policed in some way
    I get the feeling its not
    try and do things by the book or better and they'll but make it hard work and sting you for it .
    do any old rubbish on the quiet and nobodys really bothered
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2009
     
    "Having looked at the fees charged for BR approval I am beginning to think that it is just another tax raising opportunity."

    I doubt that (though perhaps we should not say it too loudly in case someone in the Treasury notices)

    It does seem insane that local Planning places so many restrictions that ensure that the aims of the Climate Change Bill will not be met: A lack of joined up thinking in Government (or, perhaps, it is joined up and Climate Change is not yet considered to be really serious)
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    Here's the latest on this from the Architect's Journal:

    http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/5203784.article
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    A huge retrograde step --- whatever are they playing at????
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009 edited
     
    It's not. No, it's certainly A Good Thing. A great deal of what would be required would be based on the short term, short sighted retrospective installation of things which could, in the long term, be detrimental to the fabric of historic buildings (uPVC windows? Reductions in breathabilty?) and not be cost and environmentally effective, taking a wider view.

    http://www.seda2.org/articles/Ecominimalism.html

    Possibly now some sensible dialogue can take place about what is good and what is bad, based on evidence and not the wishes of those who have a financial interest.

    SPAB, Historic Scotland, English Heritage, Edinburgh World Heritage (in association with others) and the Victorian Society have been producing evidence. Let's look at it, sensibly, and not make some knee jerk reaction.

    http://www.ribabookshops.com/site/viewtitle.asp?sid=&pid=9059&HID=

    http://www.ewht.org.uk/Renewable-Heritage-Conference.aspx

    http://www.ewht.org.uk/Energy-Heritage-Project.aspx

    http://www.victoriansociety.org.uk/advice/greening/
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    Indeed. There are more intelligent ways of improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock than that particular now ex-ammendment to Part L.
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009 edited
     
    A while ago, but still relevant:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/11_november/25/energy.shtml

    and farcical:

    "Jean Pierre DeGreve, spokesman for the European PVC industry (ECVM), says that PVC can be recycled.


    "People prefer PVC because they do not have to maintain the window frame. If they choose wood they need to paint regularly. And of course this is not environmentally friendly at all," he says."





    :confused:
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009 edited
     
    Posted By: biffvernonIndeed. There are more intelligent ways of improving the energy efficiency of our housing stock than that particular now ex-ammendment to Part L.


    A rare agreement Biff:bigsmile: though for additional reasons I suspect.

    I don't agree with the consequential improvements clause for dwellings. I think it is unaffordable to home owners, and un-enforcable by Building Control. It would drive an already decimated building indusry into further decline.

    We must find another way to improve the existing stock. Perhaps if there were some carrot attached to the stick? Ie. Match home owners pound for pound with grant aid [to the existing house] when they pay for an extension themselves.
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009 edited
     
    I think that a great deal depends on what your view of 'improvement' is, and what you feel can be gained environmentally. There's too much 'eco-bling' and not enough sense talked about it all.

    The building industry and its health possibly isn't of paramount importance.
  2.  
    Ev, agree with most of that.

    Re 'improvement'

    I guess it is largely defined in Part L1b by 'thermal element' u-values at present. [for domestic] It remains to be seen whether these u-values will be reduced in the 2010 revision but I doubt there is scope to do so practicably in most cases on site.
    • CommentAuthorSigaldry
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    Some people think that uPVC windows in historic buildings are an 'improvement'. Not all agree. There's rather more to 'improvements' than claimed U values.

    http://nemesisrepublic.blogspot.com/2009/06/conservation-areas-at-risk-well-that.html
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009 edited
     
    Is it more important to keep things looking pretty or reduce a buildings energy demand ?

    or is it the inhabitants of the building that really need to reduce their energy demand,
    as in put a jumper on etc.

    I'd have thought most homes wouldn't come under the label historic
    90% of the homes in my home town, uPVCs a improvement on the rubbish poorly fittted wooden ones
    that have now mostly been got rid of.
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    Both, I would suggest. But there's more than one way to do it.

    In what way do you see uPVC as an 'improvement' ? Environmental, aesthetic or what?
  3.  
    Posted By: EvSome people think that uPVC windows in historic buildings are an 'improvement'. Not all agree. There's rather more to 'improvements' than claimed U values.

    http://nemesisrepublic.blogspot.com/2009/06/conservation-areas-at-risk-well-that.html" >http://nemesisrepublic.blogspot.com/2009/06/conservation-areas-at-risk-well-that.html


    Yes, but the basis of the improvement claim for upvc can only be u-value [and then only because of the dg glass replacement] And this only because they are cheaper than timber. Now some will say life-cycle needs to be factored in and I don't necessarilly disagree - paying more up front may well save more in the long run. Trouble is many cannot afford to pay more for timber windows so what should they do? go for low u-value upvc, or stick with what they have? which may be single glazed.

    A large slice of The Part L [domestic] improvements are about u-value by definition.

    Historic buildings, by which I mean those which are listed are altogether different, and need to be treated as such.
    • CommentAuthorEv
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009 edited
     
    No, not all historic and traditional buildings (and indeed architecturally interesting) are listed. That's certainly not the case. And traditionally constructed buildings come in a wide variety, which need special care if they are to survive without damage.

    Right - so we can agree that uPVC isn't actually that wonderful?

    And indeed, junking existing windows to fit short lived uPVC with DG (and consider all the wider environmental costs) can hardly be deemed environmentally sound, can it?

    DG isn't always worth the effort, especially when the smaller size of many traditional windows is factored in.

    There are other ways to save energy. That's possibly why we are now seeing some relaxation of Part L... I hope.
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009 edited
     
    on council/ modernish house estates uPVC look no different from poor quality wood or crittal , possible better
    as they look a bit tidyer , less paint flacking off when poorly maintained etc.
    enviromental , no there not a great product in the production/ end use side of things
    but for draught proofing , reduced heatloss there a very affordable option.
    poor quality and poorly maintained wooden window rot out quite quickly so may not last as long as upvc
    I've uPVC in my home( 1950s utility build) 10 years old and as good as new , they cost £800 for 7 windows
    yes I'd love Oak 3G windows but they were out of my price range at the time (and still are), and to be honest I'd think they'd look a bit out of place down my street
    I just think uPVC do have a place, and I also think uPVC in place of sash on a period property should be a floggable offense

    cheers Jim
  4.  
    Posted By: EvNo, not all historic and traditional buildings (and indeed architecturally interesting) are listed. That's certainly not the case. And traditionally constructed buildings come in a wide variety, which need special care if they are to survive without damage.


    No. I don't agree. If regulation is to be used, then I think there has to be a line. Listing [for me] is it.

    Posted By: EvDG isn't always worth the effort, especially when the smaller size of many traditional windows is factored in.


    Again, disagree. DG is always worth the effort.

    Posted By: EvThere are other ways to save energy


    Such as?
   
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