Construction supply chain reacts to grace period ending for Part L compliance

The ‘grace period’ for compliance with the new Building Regulations Part L ended on 15 June, meaning that all new housing developments must now provide a 31% cut in carbon emissions from homes under construction.

The grace period meant that developers looking to build new homes were able to do so in compliance with the previous Regs provided they had applied for a building notice before 23 June 2022, and had begun construction before 15 June 2023. However, all new builds must now comply with the new requirements, meaning challenges and trade-offs for a wide range of housebuilders and developers to resolve.

The construction sector has responded to the change, accepting there are several challenges for specifiers to address, now that Part L is mandatory across the board, and we are less than two years away from the Future Homes Standard.

Dr Stephen Hamil, innovation director at BIM specification and product information platform NBS said: “The message is clear to specifiers that they must select materials with sustainable outcomes in mind. This highlights the importance of the early design process – where the biggest impact can be made. It’s the perfect opportunity to choose materials that insulate, use less energy, and lower the carbon impact across the whole lifecycle.”

Rob Norton of construction IT firm PlanRadar, commented: “Without the proper quality control measures, housebuilders could face Part L failures, resulting in expensive rework that can eat into already tight profit margins.

“Given that Part L is a litmus test for the entire future homes standard package, ahead of scores of other fast-approaching codes, those that haven’t already got their house in order with correct documentation and auditing must respond quickly.

Norton said that with a “a massive raft of building safety regulations coming into play in Autumn 2023,” easily retrievable and appropriate onsite evidence would be essential for “milestone checks” and as-built EPC assessments.

Stephen Hamil of NBS added: “Increased focus on carbon calculations is also likely – architects will need to demonstrate a clear focus around the primary energy use of structures to meet Building Regulations. In order to do so, accessing accurate construction product data will be critical for lower carbon decision-making.”

Maria Hudson, CMO of construction data firm Zutec, stressed the importance of photographic evidence of compliance to meet the new Part L: “It’s important not to underestimate its importance. Contractors and developers should take the necessary steps to communicate this across all site teams, regardless of whether the project is underway, or due to commence.”

She added: “They will need to take high-quality images at every stage of the build to prove the correct protocol has been followed. Without it the asset cannot be passed by the EPC and BREL inspector, and be deemed complete.”