Review of structural, acoustic and energy efficiency regulations hit by new focus on climate change.
The government review of the Building Regulations has been hit by further delay, it emerged this week. The DETR has confirmed that the regulations will need further changes to counter the effects of global warming, as reported in Building on 10 November.

Regulations covering structure, acoustics and energy efficiency are likely to be delayed.

The revision of Part A, the structural regulations, has been delayed to ensure that the new standards cover the safety of buildings in extreme weather conditions, such as those experienced in last month's floods.

The changes to Part A could have a knock-on effect on reviews of both Part E, the acoustic regulations, and Part L, the energy regulations, as they involve common factors such as cavity wall ties.

The review of Part L is itself subject to delay because of the overwhelming industry response to the proposed changes. The DETR says it is unlikely to meet the June 2001 publication date for the Part L revisions.

DETR head of Building Regulations Paul Everall confirmed the delays, saying that they had put back the original January 2001 date for publication of the Part A changes.

The industry reacted with concern to the delays. House Builders Federation technical director Dave Baker said: "It does seem as if a trend has been set by the DETR in missing deadlines for the issue of regulations."

The insulation manufacturers' trade body, the Association for the Conservation of Energy, said the delays could grind the regulation revisions to a halt. Director Andrew Warren commented: "If we wait until everything moves together, we will be waiting for doomsday."

Everall also announced amendments to the acoustic regulations at last week's Architects in Housing conference in London, saying the proposed changes would include the "introduction of pre-completion testing of a sample of dwellings on a development to ensure acoustic standards are being complied with".

Other changes include an extension to the scope of the acoustic regulations beyond the sound insulation between dwellings. Everall said the revised regulations are likely to include additional measures "to protect occupants from external noise" and that "sound insulation would also be required between a WC and other habitable rooms" and between "bedrooms and other rooms".

The proposals also require measures to reduce the echo in corridors of communal flats. The document is due to be published next week.