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Part L 2013 consultation

01/02/2012 11:41:16

news story imageCutland Consulting today gave its immediate reactions to the Government's announcement of the proposed 2013 Building Regulations. 

Director Neil Cutland said "After a very cursory scan of the full ADL1 document (in other words, our understanding at this stage could well be wrong!), our thoughts are as follows:

1. Aligning the 2013 level with FEES (give or take some detail) is extremely sensible.  It starts to make zero carbon in 2016 real, and gives the industry a reason to ‘practice’ for 2016 in earnest. 

2. The corresponding carbon level (they are saying around 8% reduction on 2010, as opposed to the 25% proposed by the previous Government) is not, for me, ‘backtracking’.  The hard part about achieving zero carbon is the fabric stuff, so even though we will now have a bigger jump to 2016, that jump consists of, relatively speaking, the easy stuff – ie. low/zero carbon on-site technologies  and allowable solutions.  It is very important that whatever is proposed for 2013 is pragmatic and achievable in practice, and the FEES level works well for me in that respect.

3.  I'm a bit disappointed that the backstop airtightness standard remains at 10m3/m2hr.  The industry can do better than that now, and to mandate a more stringent target in 2013 would be another important part of the learnings for 2016.

4.  Very disappointed to see no mention of Passivhaus.  Working Group 1 which reported to BRAC had as one of its recommendations that a certified Passivhaus dwelling should be given “deemed to satisfy” status for ADL1A 2013.  The Passivhaus standard is clearly in advance of the proposed 2013 energy/carbon standard, and PH’s certification process leads to guaranteed outcomes. No-one was proposing replacing ADL1A and SAP with Passivhaus, but that PH should be an optional alternative.  This would have advantages for Government as well as the environment, and would  give the PH enthusiasts a ‘pat on the back’ for going above and beyond the call of duty.  It seems a no-brainer to me.

5. Delighted to see consequential improvements make its usual appearance in the consultation, and I think it’s clever of Government to link it formally with Green Deal, for many reasons.  But as usual I’m deeply suspicious that it won't survive the consultation and make it into the final AD".

Cutland Consulting would be delighted to exchange views with other observers.  See "Contact" on our website.  

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