NEWS

Reducing Planning ‘Red Tape’ increases Building Regulation requirements.

Published December 7th, 2015

In accordance with the government’s target of not minimising new policy, some previous schemes and accreditations have been incorporated in the latest amendments, revisions and additions to the building regulations.

Back in 2014 the government finally announced that the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and other similar schemes and processes could no longer be added to Planning Consents. In the past Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) were able to add these certificated measures as a way of increasing the sustainability of projects and were used in part as the road map for achieving Carbon Zero.

The CSH was launched in 2006 and apart from some LPA’s and social housing projects the uptake for open market dwellings was low.

The code covered items including, improving energy efficiency, reduction and reuse of water in dwellings, good specification of Materials, reducing Pollution through manufactures and reducing waste from projects, along with increased drainage requirements, social benefits of improved sound insulation, increased security, disabled access & adaption options and ecological improvements.

LPA’s can now (where local assed need can be shown) to add conditions to increase the minimum standards of the building regulations. The Approved Documents (most commonly referred to as ‘The Regs’) for water and disabled access have been amended to reflect this.

The latest changes came into effect in the autumn with the industry only beginning to start to notice the new changes.

Part G Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency now has a minimum and additional standard added.

Part M (Access to and Use of Buildings) has been overhauled and has been spilt into two parts one for Domestic Projects the other for Non-Domestic.

The domestic section now has three Types of ‘Categories’, taking on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘Lifetime Homes’ concept.

Category 1 is classed as a Visit able Dwelling and contains little changes to the previous basic requirements.

Category 2 is Accessible and Adapted, taking on measures to allow simple adaption for use of dwelling by disabled people.

Category 3 is Wheelchair Accessible for full independent use of Wheelchair users.

The major change is the creation of a new document Part Q- Unauthorised Access. This new document takes on the Secured By Design guidance previously part of the CSH. These new rules are intended to increase the security of fittings and fixtures reducing the ease for unauthorised access into buildings.

The new rules provide guidance and standards including vision panels, letterbox standards, minimum sizes for timber sections in doors and lock requirements for both window and doors. The document gives several acceptable standards to construct to including British Standards (BS) and Public Available Specifications (PAS).

The main omission though are for purpose made windows, something very common in renovation and conversion projects.

Clearly in all situations under the new regulations homeowners and specifiers need to ensure that windows and doors are correctly specified and installed in accordance with the approved standards.