The implementation of water-saving regulations has been delayed for six months after a last-minute EU intervention
The decision to put back Part G of the Building Regulations to April 2010 was also caused by the communities department failing to finalise a scheme to sign off installations in time.
Part G, which covers sanitation, water efficiency and safety, was going to be implemented in October. The revised version places a limit on water use in new homes and requires baths to be fitted with thermostatic mixing valves to reduce the risk of scalding.
It also contains guidance on greywater harvesting systems and drinking water.
A draft was published on 15 May and the communities department said it would shortly notify the European commission.
However, the commission has complained about a paragraph in the draft intended to prevent hot water systems overheating.
Although this is an existing requirement, the wording has been changed and is now interpreted by the commission as referring to a product rather than a system. This would mean it must conform to European standards, and therefore falls under European jurisdiction.
John Tebbit, industry affairs director at the Construction Products Association, said he was disappointed by the delay: “It really isn’t a big technical issue, it’s a drafting issue and I am disappointed this couldn’t have been sorted out earlier.”
But some welcomed the news. Diane Marshall, head of building control at the National Housebuilding Council, said the delay was part of government policy to give the industry a six-month lead-in to changes.
A spokesperson for the Home Builders Federation said: “This delay means housebuilders won’t have to pay for it for another six months. In the current climate, this is very welcome.”