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Building Regulations in the News – February Recap

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Building Regulations in the News – February Recap

This month’s Building Regulations in the news is full of interesting building regulations news released throughout the month of February. We will continue the Grenfell storyline around fire safety and the removal of combustible cladding in buildings, but will also talk through the how poor-quality housing is increasing due to inadequate building regulations, as well as how two-thirds of UK homes are failing on energy efficiency targets.

300 Buildings in England require Combustible Cladding To Be Removed

Updated figures have revealed that there are more than 300 high-rise and publicly owned buildings in England with dangerous cladding systems that fall short of regulations. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, since the Grenfell tower tragedy, works to remove and replace combustible cladding has taken place on 141 buildings.

Following Grenfell, a building safety programme was established to ensure high rise home residents were not exposed to the same danger. However, over the past couple of years, some homeowners within these buildings have struggled to re-mortgage their homes due to valuers not being able to confirm whether materials adhere to building regulations. The government have confirmed there are 86 social sector residential buildings with ACM cladding that are unlikely to meet building regulations, with remediation work having started on 75. Further to this, of the 175 private sector residential buildings with the cladding, remediation work has only started on 32.

Poor Quality Housing on The Increase Due to Inadequate Building Regulations

A new report has called for a rethink of permitted development rights. According to the architecture firm Resi, 20,000 permitted developments are waived through every year with no scrutiny. They added, to improve the nations homes, the government need to take multiple actions, including strict environmental and accessibility requirements to ensure for full accessibility and environment sustainability. This would require building regulations to be amended to ensure step free access is required as well as minimum requirements for aspects such as insulation, energy use, and carbon emissions.

Further to this, the report is calling for new UK wide Housing Performance measure to ensure residents well-being and happiness is at the forefront. The measurements themselves would be similar to Energy Performance Certificates. It has been proposed that the new measure would combine objective data about UK housing stock, such as the proportions, dimensions, and quality of natural light of housing, as well as energy efficiency and accessibility of green spaces, with subjective data to give an overview of how homes contribute to the well-being of their inhabitants. Resi believe, by bench-marking for well-being and happiness in the home, poor quality developments will be alleviated.

Two-thirds of UK Homes failing on Energy Efficiency Targets

BBC news released an article revealing that the UK needs to modify homes to make them more energy efficient, as two-thirds are failing to meet long-term energy efficiency targets. More than 12 million homes are falling below the C grade on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) that are graded from A-G (A being very efficient, G being very inefficient). These statistics reveal that householders are spending more on energy bills and are pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than necessary. The government themselves have said they need to go much further and faster to improve the energy performance of homes, particularly if they want to meet their 2035 target of upgrading as many homes to grade C where practical, cost-effective and affordable.