If you didn’t know already, Scotland is voting next year to become independent. Some agree, some disagree. But that’s not what this post is about.
When it comes to the fenestration industry in Scotland, they are very much independent already. If you take a look at their version of Building Regulations they are already far stricter than what the England and Wales version is. Their demands on U-Values mean their minimum requirement is lower than ours.
Not only that, but all energy saving measures seem to have stricter policies than ours. Even Passivhaus building standards are being adopted far more quickly than they are here in England and Wales. So why is that?
Most will argue that their climate is the big driver. Lower temperatures, higher winds, bigger snowfall and more rain demands that buildings are better insulated and better protected from the weather. Which is fine, I completely see that side of the argument. But the very north of England gets very similar weather, yet the same strict building regulations do not apply. A failure which can be blamed solely on the Government.
This is the advantage Scotland has. With devolution, they have been able to control things like their own building standards, rather than let Parliament dictate what it should be. If they didn’t have the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, they wouldn’t be able to enforce such laws. Funny thing is, I think all of us would like to have the laws for Building Regs Scotland does. So many of us were disappointed with the latest round of Part L changes. So much more could have been done to make standards tighter and force the construction industry to build their buildings more efficiently. Yet that opportunity was passed up.
We look at are northerly neighbours so often, admiring how advanced their minimum fenestration requirements are. Yes the weather up there is a little harsher than further down south, but I strongly believe that we shouldn’t be using that as an excuse to hold back progression in the minimum requirements of Part L. So well done Scotland for being bold enough to force your construction sector to step up!
Addressing very quickly the idea of independence, I am all for Scotland being able to ask the question of it’s people as to whether they want independence or not. All I would caution is that is the yes vote did win, the amount of work required to form a new country would be gargantuan. Currency, armed forces, central bank, public services, health etc are just a minute number of infrastructures that would have to be created. By staying within the UK, all that is already there. So, just my little thought on that to end this post!
Agree? Disagree? All comments welcome in the section below!
Why on earth would a home improvement company want increased regulation or stricter standards in a sector that is struggling. If the uk is to get back to the growth it so desperately needs then people and government in general must relax the planning and building regulations to get the sector moving again. Increasing standards is all very well but the costs to do it will construct growth in the building sector which is not what the country needs. At the end of the day the client has to pay for these higher standards and in the current economy this… Read more »
This post makes me chuckle a bit……as I’m not sure all of us up here would aggree when it comes to our fantastic building standards. The building standards in place up here are great and they do mean that we have a better thermal performance for buildings, but what does become a nightmare is when you start tackling retrofit…. The regs state, that when carrying out renovation works to a property that every attempt should be made to improve the current building fabric to the current building standards….great eh? Well….not when a large majority of our housing stock is actually… Read more »
Couldn’t agree more Mark! A really well thought out piece of writing and yes it makes my blood run cold at the thought of lowering the voting age for exactly the reasons you say. I did read a poll recently though on young people and the majority would vote NO to the split so that could be encouraging, maybe if the other lot drink enough Buckie the night before they will be too hungover to vote the next day….and the Grangemouth issue could be a blessing in disguise because Alex Salmond did diddly squat to resolve it…the thought of him… Read more »