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M-EC utilities team discuss new changes to Building Regulations

M-EC utilities team discuss new changes to Building Regulations

 

Following the new building regulations, Part L and Part S, being enacted as of the 15th of June 2022; We spoke to our utilities team to understand how developers can work towards carbon emission cuts, what effect this may have on the electricity network and how we can support clients with this transition.

 

Overview 

Part L looks at the energy efficiency of properties and requires all residential developments to produce 31% fewer carbon emissions, whilst non-domestic developments will need to see a 27% reduction in carbon emissions following the new changes. The Building Regulation is split into two documents, which cover the conservation of fuel and power, and onsite electricity generation power for different building types (dwellings or non-residential buildings). Each document covers requirements for new and existing buildings.

Part S which has also come into action now requires all homes and non-residential buildings to have car charging points for electric vehicles as standard. 

The changes aim to improve the energy efficiency of buildings to help the country move towards the targets in place for Net Zero by 2050. These changes will improve energy efficiency in housing regulations and are a stepping stone toward the transition to the Future Homes and Building Standards introduction in 2025, which will see a more significant cut in carbon emissions, where we will see gas removed from future new build properties.

The Future Homes Standard goes further to ensure the sustainability of homes, and the real focus is on significant improvement required to the fabric of the building rather than just offsetting with cleaner energy.

 

Q&A

 

What will the Building Regulation changes to Part L and Part S mean to property developers?

Developers will need to understand the carbon emissions for all new homes and reduce the current standards by 31%. If you have already submitted your Building Regulations notice prior to the 15th June 2022, as long as construction starts before 15th June 2023, your project will be considered under previous regulations (certain types of construction are required for this to be in effect). If the date of construction is after the 15th of June of 2023, new regulations will apply.

The new regulation changes will apply if you are at the consideration and pre-planning stage of your development and submit after the 15th June 2022.

 

What can be done to support the reduction of carbon emissions on future developments?

Along with an improvement to the fabric efficiency of the property, this can be achieved through the implementation of cleaner technologies and renewable sources, such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar PV panels, also helping pave the way for the transition to being gas-less in 2025.

 

What approach are you seeing from developer clients?

We have already seen an uplift in quotes for air source heat pumps, solar panels and of course EV charging facilities, which are now mandatory. Developers will no longer be able to connect new homes to gas following the 2025 changes, and it seems that many are looking to get ahead, considering air source heat pumps early as a way to offset their carbon emissions, which will also pave the way and support them with upcoming changes in the near future. We have just worked with Redrow homes on a project in Lichfield where they are developing a gasless development. We initially looked at a dual-fuel option for this project and moved to all electric after extensive research into costs, off-site Section 278 and Section 38 diversion requirements and detailed site investigations to check space requirements for new services. Following our reports it was agreed that the gas-only option was not only more sustainable and carbon-efficient, it was more feasible and cost-effective for the client.

 

Moving to more carbon-efficient solutions and slowly moving away from gas, will this affect incoming services for a development?

Yes, this will significantly impact electricity demand, especially now EV chargers are mandatory and developers are pushing toward more sustainable methods. This means developers will have to secure larger electricity loads to accommodate for the additional usage on a development. There may also be additional requirements for possible reinforcement of the network and high voltage cables, which will also require the addition of a substation. Where reinforcement isn’t needed, it may still be subject to a second-comer charge, which is paid as a contribution to the previous reinforcement The loss of gas connections to a development are likely to see costs increase for the connections on the site (given the generated income from Gas networks which is not prevalent on electricity).

Ofgem has announced that the way electricity network reinforcement is funded will change from 2023. It is likely that demand customers (i.e. users of capacity) will not pay for reinforcement and generation customers will only contribute towards reinforcement in limited cases. Customers will still pay for costs of network extension which will particularly affect remote sites and those with engineering constraints e.g. railway crossings). We look to release further information about this in due course.

 

Thinking about the Future Homes Standard and the changes coming in 2025, will this have a further effect?

The impact on the electricity network will only increase as we implement more sustainable and carbon-efficient methods such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, EV chargers and solar panels. This will require more reinforcement to the network and may also see points of connection further from site being offered, Increasing development costs. Whilst the network is seeing upgrades as development is coming to the fore, making it easy for others to connect onto, capacity is reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis, so securing your loads at an early stage will be beneficial. There will also be areas, most probably more rural, where developments will still require substantial network extension.

 

Why is it important to get utility assessments, quotes and applications in early?

Gathering early-stage assessments will give you a better understanding of your development and the potential diversions or reinforcements, whilst the quotes will provide you with a better understanding of the potential costs for the development.  Reviewing the opportunities for connection early will enable you to understand whether this is suitable for your development or if alternative measures could be reviewed to ensure efficiency.  Accepting these early can secure your capacity if considered at the appropriate time and with the incumbent provider’s requirements taken into account.

 

How can we support you?

We can provide you with utility reports and summaries by identifying existing utilities in the vicinity to understand your development better. We can gather budget quotes to help you evaluate your options and support you with securing available capacity.  With our relationships and knowledge of Utilities, we can gain appropriate firm quotations for new connections.  Additionally, diversion planning of any affected assets can unlock in some instances previously constrained developments.

We want to support you with gaining the best, most efficient and cost-effective outcome for your development.


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