Changes to Part L spark heated debate from readers, who argue that building control officers won’t police energy requirements and that, when it comes to the green agenda, one size does not fit all
One for all and all for none
In reference to your story “Part L changes will fail to boost Green Deal” (2 February, www.building.co.uk), when will people realise that, in relation to so many things we are dealing with in the building industry, one size really doesn’t fit all? An individual homeowner changing a boiler is not the same as a developer on a new-build scheme.
There has to be flexibility. I am not convinced that the stick approach changes hearts and minds to the green agenda - show people the cost benefits and maybe you will.
It is down to good management and building control officers to make sure the regulations are followed.
Lorraine Shears, via www.building.co.uk
Matters of consequence
Building’s leader of 3 February suggests that the government’s “consequential improvements” (CI) requirements will be “policed by building control officers who often behave with the rabid, nit-picking tenacity of traffic wardens”. If only this were true! All the research suggests the opposite. While I was managing director of BRE Environment, we did a study (in 2004) that found that 60% of new homes did not conform to existing regulations.
Furthermore, a 2006 survey by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes revealed that building control officers considered energy efficiency “a low priority” and that few would take action over failure to comply with regulations because the matter “seemed trivial”. Your article suggests the CI requirements would be triggered by a boiler replacement - but the Part L consultation said they would only be triggered when buildings “undergo works to add an extension or an increase in habitable space”.
This is sensible - if a householder wants to increase the carbon footprint of their home, it’s reasonable to require them to make cost-effective improvements to the existing dwelling. The CI requirements could deliver substantial energy efficiency improvements and from the autumn householders can get the measures funded and installed by a Green Deal provider.
David Strong, chairman, Energy Efficiency Partnerships for Homes
Streamline Scottish procurement
Such is the complexity of tendering for public projects that even some of Scotland’s larger national contractors balk at it. So I am gratified to hear Alex Neil repeat the Scottish government’s commitment to bring forward a sustainable procurement bill and to widen its scope to allow the public procurement process to be streamlined, standardised and made more transparent.
For the building sector, this legislation cannot come soon enough. Given how long this situation has been allowed to continue and the specific commitments made in support of SMEs during last year’s election campaign, I am puzzled as to why we need to wait any longer. The issue needs to be addressed urgently and Mr Neil should launch a public consultation immediately.
Michael Levack, Scottish Building Federation
The price of BIM
Regarding your story, “BIM adoption rocketing, survey finds” (6 February, www.building.co.uk), how much does it cost to provide a client with a full BIM service and how much does it cost the consultant to provide it? Will consultants add it in as a built-in service or will the client be asked to pay for this as a bolt-on optional extra? There are great benefits to using BIM, but it will cost somebody, and who should pay?
R Fisher, via www.building.co.uk