Technical newsletters about emerging issues & our latest research

Planning

  • The wider adoption of Community Infrastructure Charging Schedules (the use of planning obligations will be more restricted from April 2014);
  • The expiration on 27 March 2013 of the 12-month NPPF transitional period, designed to allow some protection for existing local plans depending on the date of their adoption, even where there is a limited degree of conflict with the NPPF;
  • A greater consideration of viability in decision-taking, in line with the NPPF;
  • The formal revocation of all regional strategies (the first to be officially revoked will be the East of England plan from 3 January).

 

Green Incentives

  • Refurbishment work financed through the Green Deal will begin from 28th January 2013. The first householders to start improving the energy efficiency of their homes through the scheme will benefit from a cash back payment. The size of the cash back depends on the type of measure installed, from £10 for hot water cylinder insulation up to £650 for solid wall insulation.
  • The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is going to be simplified, to reduce administration costs by over 50% for the large organisations who are required by law to participate.  It is hoped that the changes will do more to incentivise the take up of cost cutting energy efficiency measures within businesses.  However, it is expected that the amendments will not come into effect until 2014/15.
  • Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will be extended to include domestic properties.

 

BREEAM

  • BREEAM Simple Buildings is due for release in 2013. An eagerly awaited BREEAM Process note should be released in December to clarify the process for this type of assessments and the fees it will attract. It is believed at all simple buildings without complex services no matter their size will be able to use this assessment route. Following the scheduled release of Building Regulations 2013 we also expect an update of BREEAM New Construction to follow either late 2013 or early 2014.

 

Code for Sustainable Homes

  • In Spring 2013 we will see the report from the Independent Challenge Panel who will determine the simplified ‘mass of rules’ of the building industry. Their aim is to review housing standards such as the Code for Sustainable Homes, Secured by Design, Lifetime Homes, Standards and Quality in Developments and the Homes and Communities Agency’s Housing Quality Indicators in order to ‘free up the system’, make them easier to understand and to make them work more efficiently. Although this is the case, Communities Minister Don Foster has stated that ‘essential safety and accessibility protections will remain untouched and that homes will always need to be built to high sustainability and quality standards’.
  • 2013 will also see a change in the Considerate Constructors Scheme, where a new five-point Code of Considerate Practice will be launched. The Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM standards have now confirmed that the way in which credits are assessed and awarded will not change, but the credit benchmarks have been updated.
  • Additionally, the implementation date of the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) provisions has yet to be published and how the Code for Sustainable Homes will respond to this has not yet been confirmed. The new requirements for SuDS in new and redeveloped sites in England will come under Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) and ‘Approving Bodies’ will be established to approve and adopt them.

 

Part L Building Regulations

The key changes to Part L 2013 which will affect house builders are likely to be:

  • A further reduction in CO2 emissions was pitched, with either an 8% or 25% reduction on 2010 levels being the most likely outcomes. 
  • Introduction of the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) is proposed to take focus away from simply reducing CO2 emissions, and increase efforts to build houses with low space heating demands.
  • Limiting factors on individual building elements may be tightened; for example, the consultation talked about setting the limiting u-value to walls at 0.22W/m2K or 0.2W/m2K

 

EcoHomes and BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment

If you’re still building to EcoHomes assessment due to either planning or funding requirements, please take note of the following:

  • Any EcoHomes 2006 project registered prior to 8th of April 2012, but submitted after this expiry date, will receive a certificate with a disclaimer stating that the certificate is issued against an expired scheme.
  • Any EcoHomes 2006 project registered after the 8th of April 2012 (due to planning or funding requirements) will not receive a certificate, but will instead be issued a letter of compliance. A new fee structure has been put in place for this service.