Energy regulation still to be approved by coalition as compliance software is held up

The new version of Part L could be delayed by six months owing to hold-ups in the development of the software needed to enforce it and a government review of new regulations.

The communities department this week admitted that the planned roll-out of the energy regulation still had to be approved by the government.

If we don’t have the final version of sap, then people can’t specify final designs

John Slaughter, HBF

A spokesperson said: “Our intention is to introduce the changes in October. However, this is subject to approval by the Reducing Regulation Committee which has yet to decide about new regulations still to come into force.”

The Reducing Regulation Committee is described as a “Cabinet star chamber” and is chaired by business secretary Vince Cable.

If the regulation misses its October deadline, it will have to be delayed at least until April, as regulations are only introduced on 1 October or 6 April.

The news comes as the Home Builders Federation (HBF) has written to Andrew Stunnell, the Building Regulations minister, asking for the revision of the regulation to be delayed. The HBF says housebuilders need time to get used to the new version of the compliance calculation software.

Building understands the approved software is unlikely to be ready before September.

The communities department said in 2008 that it would give six months’ notice of the software changes ahead of implementation to give builders time to adapt.

The changes needed to SAP were published earlier in the year but must now be incorporated into calculation software by different providers, then tested and approved. A source close to the process said the software was “95% there” but still may not be ready in time.

The communities department spokesperson said: “Some of it is already available and other versions are on course to be available by October.”

John Slaughter, director of public affairs at the HBF, said: “If we don’t have the final version of SAP, then people can’t specify final designs. This makes a material cost impact and can affect the value of sites.”

However, John Tebbit, industry affairs director of the Construction Products Association, said a delay to Part L could be costly for manufacturers who had developed products and booked advertising for October.