Building Regulations compliance for the Home Ownerlooking to extend or self build a new dwelling

Building Regulations compliance for the Home Ownerlooking to extend or self build a new dwelling

This month, Chester Association of Property Professionals (CAPP) member, Chris Palin discusses compliance with building regulations for the homeowner looking to extend or self-build a new dwelling.

Since June last year, new homes need to have carbon emissions reduced by at least 30% and the installation of ground source or air source heat pumps coupled with solar panels are seen as enablers to achieve these objectives. It is ‘out’ with the traditional gas and oil fired boilers and ‘in’ with new sustainable energy sources in a journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment to meet the Government’s target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

With soaring costs to utility bills, far too many existing houses in the UK are ill equipped to minimize a home’s increased costs to heat and power this coming winter. According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, heatingand power account for 40% of the UK’s total energy use: a figure that can be significantly reduced by considered design at the outset of a project in a bid to ensure that new homes are healthier to live in, energy efficient, kinder to the environment and will require less maintenance in future. But this comes with increased upfront costs to the home owner embarking on a construction project.

Implications for the home owners who extend or self build new homes:

More up-front costs to appoint external consultants ieEnergy Assessors, to assist with the design and specification of a house or extension
An uplift in Architects fees to coordinate and liaise with other professionals
Whole house assessments looking at future energyconsumption through Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) looking at air tightness and thermal values
More costly methods of achieving higher levels of thermal performance to floors, walls, roofs and windows
Higher construction costs due to specialist construction
Consideration of materials and whether they have high embodied carbon and use fossil fuels to be produced
Electric heating and heat pumps as the primary heat source used in addition to solar panels
Amount of glazing in new extensions will be limited to protect against heat loss and overheating
Replacement windows will need to comply with the Building Regulations as if they were new and provide background or trickle ventilation unless mechanical vent and heat recovery systems are installed
It may be necessary to appoint a structural engineer and a mechanical and electrical consultant at an earlier stage

The changes to the Building Regulations are a steep learning curve for all professionals and working with an Architect and Energy Assessor as early as possible will help create the best outcome to meet a client’s brief, be compliant with the new building regulations and future proof any new home to require less maintenance and be more environmentally friendly.

If any home owner is looking to extend, plans to build a new home or is simply looking to increase levels of insulation to lower heating bills then speak to an architect to get a better idea of how to reduce your own carbon footprint.

Further reading to reduce your carbon emissions:

Chris Palin – SBS Design Ltd. CAPP member.