The most recent changes to the Building Regulations are being made in direct responses to the government’s commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as set out in the Kyoto agreements, which most of the construction industry readily accepts as “the right thing to do”.
We would argue that it isn’t the changes to the regulations that we should address, but the manner in which the guidance is being delivered and the lack of co-ordination from the ODPM.
The recently published Approved Documents L1a, L1b, L2a and L2b raise more questions than answers for designers, builders and those required to approve the buildings of the future. The introduction of computer modelling and the lack of second-tier information is frustrating designers and builders, as there is now no specific guidance to follow. This uncertainty will stifle design and prevent innovative buildings being realised.
The challenge is for designers and approvers to work together to meet the requirements of the regulations without being unduly encumbered by the accompanying guidance. It is for designers, builders and building control to work out what the solutions are and then let the government know what’s needed.
Darren Ettles, HCD Building Control