Changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regs are due to be published in December 2021, ready to come into force in June 2022. Driven by the upcoming Future Homes and Future Buildings Standards, these will set out tougher energy and ventilation standards for homes and non-domestic buildings as part of the pathway to zero carbon ready buildings and the government’s preferred Fabric First approach.
Proposals which have already been consulted on in relation to Part L include an initial reduction in maximum U-Values for windows in new build homes from 1.4 to 1.2, moving towards a more radical target of 0.8 over the next five years. Alongside this, there are also plans to limit unwanted solar gains in new homes by setting maximum sizes for glazing in relation to floor area, with different rules covering Greater London and the rest of England.
All of this is likely to have major implications on window and door design over the coming years, particularly in aluminium, and potentially a greater shift towards triple glazing. Yet, there is still relatively little awareness in either the trade or specification markets about the changes or the timescale.
With architects in particular telling us that they are likely to rely on suppliers like AluK as well as the media to keep them informed, we have begun our own communications campaign to address the issue.
The first major element in this is a Round Table event taking place tomorrow at our London Design Studio. We have invited some of the key players in the market to come together and discuss the likely challenges to be faced by systems houses, glass and hardware suppliers, fabricators, installers and of course specifiers, and look ahead at some of the likely outcomes.
This will be covered extensively in the glazing trade press and will also be available as a podcast.
Ahead of the event, we have already sought the views of architects working in the new build housing market and will be putting their thoughts to our round table panel.
With many saying that recyclable aluminium or ali/timber composites are the only frame choices they would consider, there is a willingness to accept some degree of design changes if it helps to deliver more sustainable homes.
However, architects want to know whether clients would be expected to pay more for frames with, for instance, triple glazing, whether these frames would be more difficult to fabricate and install and how different they might look.
They are extremely concerned about the as yet unassigned Approved Document which would limit the glazing area to prevent overheating – arguing that daylight and wellbeing for occupants should still be paramount.
And some are also worried about how proposed changes to Part F of the Building Regs governing ventilation will impact on the declared U-Values of frames which would potentially still require trickle vents or louvres to be fitted.
Most architects we have spoken do welcome the news that the loophole is to be closed which allows developers on long term projects to stick to the Building Regs regime in place at the start, but many still feel that the proposed changes to both Part L and Part F don’t go far enough.
Our panellists will be giving their thoughts on all these topics and others including testing and policing regimes at tomorrow’s Round Table.
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