New part L building regulations will stifle housing supply from small builders, says House Builders Association (HBA) of the National Federation of Builders

The release of new regulations for Part L of the Building Regulations will disproportionately affect small builders and stifle housing delivery, warned the House Builders Association, a division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB).

James Hulme, strategic policy advisor to the HBA said:

“While our members are committed to carbon reduction and low carbon homes, they will struggle with the deadline for new regulatory compliance. By reinforcing a commitment date of April 2014, the Government has given small builders little time to overhaul the design of homes and aspects of the supply chain to ensure they are compliant with the new regulations. The target date affects smaller builders who do not have a reserve of permissions already secured under earlier standards, putting schemes they build under the new regulations at risk of being uncompetitive in the marketplace.

“With demand for land stimulating ever higher prices, the additional costs of these improvements will have to come off the developer’s margin, threatening the overall viability of many small schemes. In a climate of constricted mortgage lending, market surveys still indicate the mainstream consumer is unwilling to pay a higher price for enhanced energy performance when buying a new home.”

He added:

“Additionally, by reinforcing its commitment to the zero carbon timetable, government may be tasking the industry with a further tightening of Part L within two years, creating further regulatory burden at a critical point in the recovery of the sector’s economic cycle.”

Promoting a practical approach to effective carbon reduction measures, the HBA welcomes the change of emphasis from renewable energy sources to fabric performance, with the introduction of a new target for fabric energy efficiency.

James Hulme said:

“Whilst strongly supportive of the need for the industry to fulfil its commitments to a low carbon economy, the HBA has consistently argued for a fabric first approach to energy performance. This means builders focusing on what they do well, creating a coherent thermal envelope, while reduction in carbon dependency is left to experts in the energy supply industry. This approach is the one which will deliver genuine long term benefits, by raising the quality and longevity of new homes rather than applying expensive technological fixes that often have a limited operating life.”

The HBA further welcomed the review of design and as built energy performance and will be contributing to the programme led by the Zero Carbon Hub to look at this issue in more detail, pursuant of a target of 90 per cent compliance of as built to design performance from 2020.

For further information please contact the NFB press office on 01293 586664 or email marketing(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)builders.org.uk