Changes to Building Regulations in England effective July 2013

July 2013 will see the final round of regulatory changes in England introduced by DCLG late in 2012.

New Approved Document Regulation 7 (2013)

This comes into force on 1 July 2013 for all works submitted to a building control body after that date. The document has been updated to reflect the full implementation of European Regulations covering construction products, referred to as the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). This regulation requires that products that are covered by a harmonised European product standard or conform to a European Technical Assessment should have CE marking. CE marking of products under the CPR is the responsibility of the manufacturer/supplier of the products concerned.

All other references to "materials and workmanship" in Approved Documents are also updated on 1 July 2013 to reflect the new Approved Document Regulation 7.

In respect of submissions to Building Control, the implementation of the CPR in England will have little effect. Building Control Bodies must still decide if materials are suitable and fit for purpose in the same way as they did before. For materials covered by a Harmonised European Standard, the declaration of conformity will however make comparisons with other similar products easier.

Access a free guide on the CPR produced by the Construction Products Association

New energy related regulations

In order to comply with European legislation and specifically the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (Recast) a number of new and amended regulations have been introduced concerning energy efficiency of buildings, together with further guidance in Approved Documents L1A, L2A, L1B and L2B to support these regulatory changes.

Regulation 23 (Requirements for the renovation or replacement of thermal elements)

Regulation 23 of the Building Regulations has been amended to move the guidance concerning the renovation of thermal elements which were previously set out in Approved Documents L1B and L2B and make them a statutory provision.

Regulation 23 now requires that where a thermal element is subject to renovation, the whole of the element should be improved to the standards set out in Approved Documents L1B and L2B providing it would be technically, functionally and economically feasible to comply. This is provided that the area to be renovated or replaced is greater than 50% of the surface area of the individual thermal element or constitutes a "major renovation" where more than 25% of the surface area of the building undergoes renovation.

In practical terms the provisions for the renovation of thermal elements remain essentially the same as under the former guidance in Approved Document L1B and L2B, the main difference being the provisions are now backed up by statutory regulation.

Regulation 25A (Consideration of high-efficiency alternative systems for new buildings)

This regulation introduces a new requirement that before the construction of a new building starts the builder/developer shall carry out an analysis to take into account the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of using high-efficiency alternative systems (such as the following systems) if available:

Before construction work starts the developer must give the building control body (BCB) a notice that states the analysis referred to above has;

BCBs are empowered to require the production of the documentation in order to verify that this regulation is complied with.

Whilst it is a requirement for the analysis to be undertaken, this does not mean such systems have to be installed, if the target emission rates for the new buildings can be met in some other way.

To help customers with their obligations under this new regulation, NHBC Building Control will send out pro-forma documentation on all projects which can be completed and returned to confirm that the analysis has been undertaken, documented and is available if required.

Regulations 23 and 25A come into effect on the 9 July 2013 and will apply to all work submitted after that date. However the requirements will not apply to all work sites where:

The following work constitutes site commencement:

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