April 6 deadline sparks mass influx of applications to Building Control.

Industry bodies have reacted angrily to a government announcement that clamps down on the number of schemes eligible for assessments under the 2002 Building Regulations, which deals with energy efficiency.

In a shock move, the ODPM has announced that new buildings must have full building plans approved by 6 April if they are to be assessed under these regulations. It was previously thought just the scope of a project would have to be submitted to Building Control before this date.

National House-Building Council chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi claimed the new rule would lead to a significant increase in workload for Building Control, which it might not have the capacity or resources to deal with.

He said: "We are concerned that the decision will lead to a situation which is unworkable in practice. It raises significant practical difficulties, given that the necessary supporting documentation and calculation software needed to implement Part L is still not in place. We will be taking urgent soundings with the industry and other building control bodies to establish how we can best achieve a workable implementation of the regulations."

Industry insiders also said the new rule meant that any schemes submitted now would probably not get approved by April 6 because each application would now take longer to process.

Dave Mitchell, technical director of the HBF, said: "They've stopped the situation where developers put in loads of applications at the last minute. If Building Control gets innundated with applications tomorrow, there's no way they could approve them all by April 6th. It's a lot tougher and isn't anything like the rumours that were flying around."