The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published the draft revision to Part L of the Building Regulations. The proposals, which cover energy efficiency, include tighter carbon dioxide emission standards for new homes and non-domestic buildings. The government says it is the next step towards ‘zero carbon’ standards and will include tighter performance standards for works to existing buildings.

The draft also contains proposals to introduce, on a phased basis, requirements for additional energy efficiency improvements to be carried out when other specified works (eg extensions) are planned, and Green Deal finance is available as an option to meet the up-front costs.

According to the consultation document, the requirement for these ‘consequential improvements’, such as cavity wall or loft insulation and draught proofing, would be triggered even when making small upgrades in a property.

Some construction commentators expressed concern that these ‘consequential improvements’ could cause a slump in construction work because home owners will face additional costs to implement energy efficiency measures.

And on new build government plans for carbonreduction targets have been scaled back from 25 per cent to just eight per cent of 2010 levels for new homes and 20 per cent for nondomestic buildings.

The Construction Products Association said it was encouraged by the initial proposals, as they reflect many of the points which industry has been pressing for. However, the association stressed that additional steps will be needed to the changes to Part L in 2013, if the zero carbon homes target for 2016, is to be achieved.

Comments about the proposals should be made to DCLG by the end of March.

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