Proposed changes to The Building Regulations in 2020

03 March 2020


In 2019, the UK Government committed to reduce all of its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Buildings contribute about 40% of the total of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and homes – both new and existing – account for 20%.

To improve the energy efficiency of dwellings, The Future Homes Standard will be introduced in 2025, when it is expected that an average home will have 75 – 80% less carbon emissions than one built to current energy efficiency requirements (MHC&LG 2019). The roadmap to the introduction of the Future Homes Standard is shown in Figure No 1.

Figure No 1 – The roadmap to the Future Homes Standard.

In order to help the construction industry to prepare for the introduction of the Future Homes Standard, the Government propose to introduce a meaningful uplift to energy efficiency standards in 2020. A consultation running from 1st October 2019 till 10th January 2020, sets out two options to uplift Approved Document L (Conservation of fuel & power) as well as changes to Approved Document F (Ventilation). There are two proposed options to uplift energy efficiency standards in the consultation on Part L –

  • Option 1: 20% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the current standard for an average home. We anticipate this could be delivered by very high fabric standards (typically with triple glazing and minimal heat loss from walls, ceilings and roofs).
  • Option 2: 31% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the current standard. We anticipate this could be delivered based on the installation of carbon-saving technology such as photovoltaic (solar) panels and better fabric standards, though not as high as in option 1 (typically double not triple glazing).

Option 2 is the Government’s preference, as they say it will deliver more deliver more carbon savings and result in lower bills for the householder. However, this option has higher build costs. The timetable for these changes is shown in Figure No 2.

Figure No 2 – Changes to the Building Regulations in 2020.

Further Government consultation, under the Clean Growth Strategy (BEIS, 2019A), will look at plans for uplifting standards when work is carried out in existing buildings, both dwellings and buildings other than dwellings, where there are cost-effective, safe and practical opportunities to do so. This consultation will recognise the risks associated with energy efficiency works to existing buildings, and will provide clarity on the expected ventilation standard when retrofit work is carried out.

Prime Meridian is prepared for these changes and can advise on how to comply with these upcoming revisions to the Building Regulations.

BEIS, 2019, (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), Policy paper Clean Growth Strategy: executive summary, updated 16 April 2018

MHC&LG 2019, (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Future Homes Standard, 2019 Consultation on changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for new dwellings, MCHL&G, London, October 2019.