The CBI, late last month, played host to both Boris Johnson and Sir Kier Starmer, with Sir Kier emphasising the need to invest in technical and vocational skills. The Prime Minister, supported by a flurry of press briefings, set out plans for electric vehicle (EV) charging points to be required in the Building Regulations.1 As coverage of the speech focused on other aspects, it is worth a closer look at the details of the government response to the consultation on EV charging.2
The new regulations are intended to support up to 145,000 new charging points each year, to expand the EV charging network and provide reliable, accessible and usable facilities nationwide.
As a result, every new home with a parking space within the site, and every residential building undergoing renovation that will have more than 10 parking spaces, will be required to install charging points for each space allocated to a home, and cable routes to any other spaces. New and refurbished non-residential buildings will also be required to provide at least one full charge point and cable routes to 20% of spaces.
This is not the only area of Building Regulations activity that can be expected this month. There is an expectation that the latest changes to Parts F and L of the Building Regulations will also be issued, supplemented by new requirements on overheating. It is anticipated that this package will come into force next summer.
These changes are the first step towards the promised Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard, which are intended to be put in place in 2025. They will drive an increase in the electrical supply requirements to new buildings, with the need to supply charge points and the growing number of heat pumps.
It is vital that designers focus on reducing operational energy demands and users’ costs
CIBSE has just published guidance on the implications of this trend. Electrification of buildings for net zero, CIBSE TM67,3 gives initial guidance on design and operation of building electrical services (see page 57). It aims to raise understanding and knowledge of the implications of this drive to net zero carbon emissions among all engineers involved in the design of buildings, to stimulate appropriate design responses.
Increased electrification of buildings will have significant implications for the design and operation of, and the technical services systems installed in, buildings. As electricity currently costs users much more than fossil fuels, there is a risk of large increases in energy bills without well considered design. So, it is vital that building designers focus on reducing operational energy demands and users’ costs.
One reason for the high price of electricity is the cost of Grid decarbonisation, which may be reallocated in future – but that does not diminish the need for efficient design. Electrification of transport and heat will require significant new capacity, the cost of which will be borne on electricity bills, so it is vital to renew the focus on delivering efficient and effective services systems for buildings.
We face a significant set of changes over the next few years in relation to building energy and emissions. Meanwhile, we have the ongoing programme of building safety reform.
In a special evidence session on building safety on 22 November,4 Dame Judith Hackitt acknowledged the progress being made by leading players in construction and called on others to start preparing now for the new regime, and not wait for the legislation or to be told what to do. Sir Ken Knight emphasised the far-reaching nature of the reforms and that they apply to all buildings, not just those classed as ‘higher risk’ in the bill.
With new Building Regulations and a new regulatory regime, there is a great deal to look ahead to for all Journal readers. The new year will bring plenty of fresh challenges and topics for your continuing professional development – CIBSE will be busy providing guidance and events, as well as the Journal, to support you.
- PM speech at the CBI conference, 22 November 2021 bit.ly/CJDec21HD1
- Consultation response: EV charge points in residential and non-residential buildings, Department for Transport, 21 November, bit.ly/CJDec21HD2
- TM67 Electrification of buildings for net zero, CIBSE bit.ly/CJDec21HD3
- Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Monday 22 November 2021, bit.ly/CJDec21HD4