The building services industry should assume that European regulations that currently affect the UK will still be in force immediately after Britain leaves the European Union (EU) in 2019, says CIBSE technical director Hywel Davies.
In his annual legislation briefing to the CIBSE Patrons last month, Davies said the government’s Brexit White Paper, which paves the way for its Great Repeal Bill, clearly states that UK law on the day we leave the EU ‘would still be UK law the day after’.
‘Leaving the EU will change nothing immediately – at least in terms of legislation that affects our industry,’ said Davies, who supplied a list of regulations that would initially remain in force, including: Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Display Energy Certificates (DECs); minimum energy efficiency standards; the F-Gas Regulation; the Energy-related Products (ErP); Building Regulations; and the Climate Change Act.
‘Several are a mixture of UK and EU law, which would be extremely tricky and counterproductive to unpick. The government has recognised this and provided welcome clarity on the way forward,’ Davies added.
He pointed out that the government had also committed to carbon-reduction targets beyond 2032 and that the UK Climate Change Act remains in force, with the aim of a 57% reduction in emissions by 2030. ‘Dismantling policies that are already contributing to these reductions would be illogical,’ said Davies. ‘And scrapping things because they are European would just create unnecessary work.’
He said the government is actually under pressure to come up with further carbon-reduction measures, as the Committee for Climate Change had identified a gap of 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent that needs to be tackled to meet long-term goals.
Davies said he expected the planned revision of Part L of the Building Regulations – designed to ensure its measures remain ‘cost optimal’ – to go ahead. ‘However, there is no sign of any engagement with the industry yet,’ he added.
Targets for ‘nearly zero energy new buildings’ by 2021 (2019 for some public buildings) remain in place, but work needs to be done on the Metering and Billing Regulations. These had ‘created mayhem’, says Davies, as they were ‘dumped on the industry without consultation’ and without being thought through.
The government may also has to look again at its plans for minimum energy efficiency standards, due to come into force next year, he said. ‘Some landlords appear not to have an EPC, and this only carries a small penalty, but allows them to avoid the requirement to upgrade their buildings. This loophole will have to be closed if the standards are to be effective.’