Diaries out - here’s how 2012 is shaping up so far


Building Regulations
In early 2012 the government is due to publish a consultation on changes to the regulations, including changes to Part L on energy efficiency of new buildings and rationalising fire safety provisions in Part B by repealing duplicating Local Acts. Consultation will begin in 2012 on changes made necessary by the Green Deal and the EU Energy Performance Directive.

Public sector procurement
The Cabinet Office has announced plans to simplify the process by which the government buys services from the private sector. From January 2012 all but the most complex procurement processes will be completed within 120 days.


The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC)
The UK’s carbon emissions trading scheme originally required participating organisations to purchase allowances from the government for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit. In October 2010, the government announced that it would retain the payments, effectively making the CRC a tax. A further consultation on draft legislation is expected to commence in February 2012, with legislation expected to take effect in April 2013.


Illegally Logged Timber (Prohibition of Import, Sale or Distribution) Bill
This bill makes it illegal in the UK for a person or company to make use of timber products illegally obtained from their country of origin. The bill is expected to have its second reading in the House of Commons in March.


Capital allowances
100% allowances for plant and expenditure will be introduced from April to be used primarily in designated areas in enterprise zones.

Green Investment Bank
The Green Investment Bank is to be set up to facilitate long-term investment in economic infrastructure in the low carbon sector. The government will make direct investments in green infrastructure projects during the first phase from April 2012 and until they can be transferred to the bank.

The Localism Act
This act was passed on 15 November 2011. While a few of its provisions have immediate effect, much of it requires secondary legislation to bring it into force. Secondary legislation for the bill is set to be passed by April.

The act includes, among other things: (i) a new requirement for developers to consult local communities before submitting planning applications for certain developments; (ii) power for the government to require that some of the money raised from the community infrastructure levy goes directly to the neighbourhoods where development takes place; and (iii) the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission: the secretary of state will decide on nationally significant infrastructure project applications.

Revised asbestos regulations
The health and Safety Executive plans to introduce a single set of revised asbestos regulations by April 2012, revoking the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The revised regulations will mean that fewer types of lower risk asbestos work will be exempt from the requirements to notify work, to carry out medical examinations and to maintain health records. Guidance will be published to explain how the changes will work.


Building Information Modelling
The government’s Construction Strategy envisages that BIM will be introduced progressively for public projects by 2016. The roll-out to those projects will begin in summer 2012 on completion of pilot schemes. The expected template will be set by April and trial projects identified by July.


The Green Deal
This scheme will provide upfront finance for energy efficient retrofitting of domestic and non-domestic properties, enabling costs to be repaid through charges in energy bills for the properties. The framework for the deal is set out in the Energy Act 2011. Consultation on draft regulations began in November 2011 and the government intends the first Green Deals to come into effect in October 2012.


Legislation and regulation on green and sustainability issues could be an additional administrative burden and expense at a time of economic downturn. It is hoped that the infrastructure and housing strategy outlined in its autumn statement will provide a boost to the industry.

Miranda Ramphul is professional support consultant and Michael Mendelblat is professional support lawyer at Herbert Smith LLP