Checklist: changes to the Building Regulations 2000

Checklist: changes to the Building Regulations 2000

 Version one relates to the construction industry and versions two is relevant for property developers and landowners

Version one: the construction industry

The Building Regulations 2000 apply to all buildings. A number of changes to the Regulations will come into force on 1 October 2010.

 Who needs to be aware of the changes?

The construction industry is dominated by small firms and it is anticipated that the changes will have the greatest impact on businesses that employ fewer than 20 employees. For example, staff will need training on the new regulations and they may need to adapt production methods, both of which will involve a disproportionate cost on smaller businesses.

 What are the changes?

 Means of ventilation

New requirements and guidance will be introduced for the installation and commissioning of fixed mechanical ventilation systems. For example:

  •  Ventilation requirements will be increased in certain situations to take account of increasingly airtight homes.
  •  Building owners will need to be provided with sufficient information to operate a building’s ventilation system adequately.
  •  Builders will be required to notify the relevant local authority building control body (BCB):
    • when a mechanical ventilation system is commissioned
    • of the measured air flow rate of a mechanical ventilation system in a new dwelling.

Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems

The changes are designed to ensure that combustion appliances function safely in today’s more airtight homes. They will:

  • Introduce new requirements aimed at reducing the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning (for example, by installing carbon monoxide alarms in dwellings with new solid-fuel appliances).
  •  Provide guidance on improving ventilation in “very airtight houses”, especially those where energy efficiency improvements mean that previous escape routes for carbon monoxide (such as draughty windows in old houses) have been eliminated.

Conservation of fuel and power

New requirements will be introduced with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of new homes by 25%. The amendments will:

Adjust how the target emission rate (TER) is calculated.

  •  Introduce a requirement to provide the BCB with a TER and dwelling emission rate (DER) before work starts. After completion, the builder will need to notify the BCB of the TER and DER actually achieved. Also, if the work was not carried out to specification, then the builder will have to confirm how the specification changed.
  •  Add margins of error to calculations where actual energy efficiency figures are estimated or extrapolated from existing data. In effect, this will encourage a detailed energy assessment of every building.

What are the penalties for contravening the Regulations?

If building work is undertaken that contravenes the Regulations, the BCB can:

  •  Serve an enforcement notice which requires the removal or alteration of work that does not comply with the Regulations. The enforcement notice will give 28 days to carry out the required work, failing which the local authority can carry out the work at the cost of the owner/occupier.
  •  Apply for an injunction for the removal or alteration the work. Traditionally, injunctions have not been widely used to enforce the Regulations because of the costs involved. Injunctions tend to be used for those situations that are urgent and where the cost can be justified by the risk of serious danger to health and safety (for example, where a nightclub is at risk of fire).
  •  Prosecute a contravention of the Regulations through summary proceedings in the magistrates’ court. Businesses may be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 and an additional £50 per day for each day the contravention continues after conviction. However, prosecutions are relatively infrequent and generally taken only for flagrant or wilful breaches.

 Regularisation certificate

Even if a local authority does not prosecute or take enforcement action, it will not issue a completion certificate to confirm compliance with the Regulations if there has been a contravention. This may subsequently create difficulties when selling the property. A regularisation certificate can be obtained which provides evidence (but not conclusive evidence) that the requirements of the Regulations specified in the certificate have been complied with.

 More information

If you have any questions about the content of this checklist, please contact Roger Wilkinson or Richard Hemingway.

Checklist: changes to the Building Regulations 2000

 

Version two: property developers and landowners

The Building Regulations 2000 apply to all buildings. A number of changes to the Regulations will come into force on 1 October 2010.

 Who needs to be aware of the changes?

Property owners and landowners will need to be aware of the changes as the costs of constructing a new building will increase because of the need to meet greater energy efficiency requirements and reduce carbon emissions. Any cost increases are also likely to impact on potential purchasers (when they buy a new home) and on occupiers (who undertake work in their home). However, it is estimated that these additional costs will be offset by lower fuel bills over the life of the property.

 What are the changes?

Means of ventilation

New requirements and guidance will be introduced for the installation and commissioning of fixed mechanical ventilation systems. For example:

  •  Ventilation requirements will be increased in certain situations to take account of increasingly airtight homes.
  •  Building owners will need to be provided with sufficient information to operate a building’s ventilation system adequately.
  •  Builders will be required to notify the relevant local authority building control body (BCB):
    • o when a mechanical ventilation system is commissioned; and
    • o of the measured air flow rate of a mechanical ventilation system in a new dwelling.

 Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems

The changes are designed to ensure that combustion appliances function safely in today’s more airtight homes. They will:

  •  Introduce new requirements aimed at reducing the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning (for example, by installing carbon monoxide alarms in dwellings with new solid-fuel appliances).
  •  Provide guidance on improving ventilation in “very airtight houses”, especially those where energy efficiency improvements mean that previous escape routes for carbon monoxide (such as draughty windows in old houses) have been eliminated.

Conservation of fuel and power

New requirements will be introduced with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of new homes by 25%. The amendments will:

  •  Adjust how the target emission rate (TER) is calculated.
  •  Introduce a requirement to provide the BCB with a TER and dwelling emission rate (DER) before work starts. After completion, the builder will need to notify the BCB of the TER and DER actually achieved. Also, if the work was not carried out to specification, then the builder will have to confirm how the specification changed.
  •  Add margins of error to calculations where actual energy efficiency figures are estimated or extrapolated from existing data. In effect, this will encourage a detailed energy assessment of every building.

What are the penalties for contravening the Regulations?

If building work is undertaken that contravenes the Regulations, the BCB can:

  •  Serve an enforcement notice which requires the removal or alteration of work that does not comply with the Regulations. The enforcement notice will give 28 days to carry out the required work, failing which the local authority can carry out the work at the cost of the owner/occupier.
  •  Apply for an injunction for the removal or alteration the work. Traditionally, injunctions have not been widely used to enforce the Regulations because of the costs involved. Injunctions tend to be used for those situations that are urgent and where the cost can be justified by the risk of serious danger to health and safety (for example, where a nightclub is at risk of fire).
  •  Prosecute a contravention of the Regulations through summary proceedings in the magistrates’ court. Businesses may be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 and an additional £50 per day for each day the contravention continues after conviction. However, prosecutions are relatively infrequent and generally taken only for flagrant or wilful breaches.

 Regularisation certificate

Even if a local authority does not prosecute or take enforcement action, it will not issue a completion certificate to confirm compliance with the Regulations if there has been a contravention. This may subsequently create difficulties when selling the property. A regularisation certificate can be obtained which provides evidence (but not conclusive evidence) that the requirements of the Regulations specified in the certificate have been complied with.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.