Building Regs changes on carbon reduction mandatory from June 2022

Parliament has voted in changes to Building Regulations which from June next year will require CO2 emissions from new homes reduced by 31% against current standards, and introduce a new Approved Document O covering overheating.

This is an interim measure towards the Government’s Future Homes Standard (and Future Buildings Standard) 2025, and overall net zero carbon target in 2050. In addition, Regs changes mean emissions from other new buildings, including offices and shops, must be reduced by 27%.

Under the new Part O, all new residential buildings, including homes, care homes, student accommodation and children’s homes must reduce overheating, making sure they are “fit for the future and protect the most vulnerable people,” said the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Improvements to ventilation under Part F will also be introduced to “support the safety of residents in newly-built homes and to prevent the spread of airborne viruses in new non-residential buildings.”

The changes announced follow a public consultation and will come into effect from June 2022. They “pave the way for the Future Homes and Buildings Standard in 2025, which will mean all future homes are net zero ready and will not need retrofitting,” said DLUHC.

RIBA president Simon Allford said: “These uplifts will bring us one step closer to decarbonisation.” However he added: “The new minimum standards for fabric efficiency and new Part O signal real progress, but without regulation of actual energy use, the built environment will not decarbonise at the rate required. Regulations must continue to tighten.”

He said the RIBA would work with ministers to try and ensure the 2025 Future Homes and Buildings Standards addressed the “urgency of the task at hand.”

Partner at architect PRP Andrew Mellor said that following analysis carried out with clients, the “likely Future Homes Standard requirements do not go anywhere near far enough,” adding that “developers will have to go much further to hit the RIBA 2030 standard and even further to meet the LETI standards.”

“Architects and developers need one standard from government, membership bodies and the advisory groups which achieves true net zero. Disparity between standards will not help industry to achieve the net zero goal.”