July 30th was the day it was finally confirmed that changes to Part L of building regs will come into force in April 2014. They were originally due to be enforced from October of this year, but various delays and problems have meant they have been put back six months.
Not that any of this should worry you in the window industry as there is very little in these revisions that we need to concern ourselves with. I am going to stick with window industry related changes, just to make sure I don’t ramble on with anything else.
One of the stand out points of these changes is that the current C rated window minimum will remain the same. This is something that disappoints me as I think the Government has missed an opportunity here to keep pushing the minimum level of efficiency up as well as the overall level of quality.
On the issue of new build properties, from April 2014, new dwellings are going to have to be 6% more efficient than they are right now. It is worth bearing in mind that this is down from 8%. For non-domestic properties, the reduction in carbon is a further 9%. It was previously as high as 20%.
So what we have here, is a set of plans, which seemed to be quite far reaching and rightly tough, which have then been severely watered down. And why have they been watered down? Well, I’m going to stick my neck on the line here and blame the construction industry for lobbying the Government down on this issue. If so, this is very weak.
It’s not new news to know that the construction industry is very unwilling to change the way it builds in this country. In fact it’s a discussion we have had on DGB before, whilst talking about the Passivhaus building standards. To me, Passivhaus, or at least elements of it, should be worked into the way we do construction in the UK. Yet, the construction industry always seems to be able to quash whatever strong, positive changes the Government wants to make to our building sector.
We look at what other countries around the world are doing. We look at what is going on in Germany, Austria, Scandanavia and we know they are doing it better than us and we know we need to change. And yet, because it will cost money to change the way construction builds in this country, there is always massive resistance by the sector. Why should any industry have such an influential say over matters when improvements and better efficiency are at stake?
But, whenever there is money involved, it always seems to carry more importance than what is actually right.