These changes as the bare minimum to retain credibility for zero carbon from 2016

John Tebbit

After a gestation period worthy of a blue whale, the date for Part L’s delivery was announced along with some details of the future of the regulation.

The actual birth, comprising publication of the detailed regulations, along with the Approved Documents and Impact Assessment, will be later this summer but at least we now have the equivalent of a pretty good ultrasound scan.

Part L comes in four sections: two for new and existing homes and two for new and existing non-domestic buildings.

For new homes, changes will mainly be to fabric. If housebuilders choose to achieve the average 6% uplift by fabric measures - and there will be a tougher requirement on fabric efficiency - this fabric will probably be suitable for Part L 2016, so just services will then need to be upgraded.

Equally, for new non-domestic buildings the 9% uplift will not require renewables, although they may well be part of any solution.

Changes to existing buildings seem limited, with more efficient services being required for non-domestic buildings. Existing homes seem untouched, with existing upgrade standards remaining. The consequential improvements requirement remains dead after the government’s recent win in the judicial review brought by energy conservation groups.

Overall, the majority of industry will regard these changes as the bare minimum to retain credibility for zero carbon from 2016.

There are still crucial issues to sort out, which will be buried in the Approved Documents and target setting within the SAP modelling tool, so significant effects on particular types of construction or buildings could still emerge.

Why it took so long to agree this statement is, however, beyond me.

John Tebbit is deputy chief executive of the Construction Products Association