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The part L update – what tradespeople should know

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In June 2022, there will be some changes made to Part L of the building regulations, which deals with the energy efficiency requirements of buildings.

What is Part L?

Part L is an approved document from the UK government. It lays out the standards for the conservation of fuel and power in new and existing dwellings, as well as selected buildings other than dwellings.

There are other approved documents set out by the UK government which will be changing at the same time as approved document L. These are approved Document O-overheating and approved document F- ventilation. Find the government guidance for those here.

What changes are being made?

The changes being made to Approved Document L intend to more effectively regulate the conservation of fuel and power in buildings. The main alterations will be to do with CO2 emissions, fabric energy, primary energy, thermal bridging, and U values:

  • CO2 emission standards will be uplifted by 30%.
  • The fabric energy efficiency metric will be improved.
  • A new primary energy target will be adopted which will consider the efficiency of a building’s heating system and its upstream energy uses.
  • All dwellings will need to be pressure tested for airtightness. sample testing will no longer be permitted.
  • Government-approved construction details are being removed. So specific thermal bridging details will likely be required to pass SAP calculations.
  • Minimum U-values for thermal elements have been updated for boilers, heat pumps, cooling systems, and lighting.

Read Approved Document L here for a comprehensive list of changes.

Why all this change?

The changes are being made to encourage the industry to adapt to other shifts in building regulations. And each updated approved document is a stepping stone towards the Future Homes and Building Standard that is being introduced in 2025.

The Future Homes and Building Standards will complement the Building Regulations by encouraging new homes to produce 75-80% fewer emissions than current homes.

Will these changes affect me?

The changes to approved document L will take effect from 15th June 2022. The document will be used in England only. But the changes to approved document L will not apply to…

  • Work subject to a building notice.
  • Work subject to a full plans application.
  • Work subject to an initial notice that is submitted before 15th June 2022.

N.B. The above exceptions apply only if the work for each building begins prior to 15th June 2023.

Shane Regan, Principal Building Performance Support Engineer for Bentley Systems said…

“The new 2021 Part L Regulations will be a major step towards realising the goal of zero-energy buildings. Achieving this will bring many new challenges and opportunities in nearly all aspects of the building life-cycle, from design to final construction.

Buildings will need to be designed from initial conception with these regulations in mind. Every building construction standard such as those for building fabric, air-tightness. So, plant efficiency will be integral to achieving the required Energy Usage and Carbon Emission targets.”

Read the full and amended Approved Document L here.
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