Uplift in Future Homes & Building Standards: how will it impact developers?

On 15 June 2022, changes to building regulations came into effect. Below we have outlined the key changes and how they will impact current and future projects.

What is happening?

As part of the government's drive towards tackling climate change, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published its response to the Future Buildings Standard consultation. As part of its plans to reach the Future Homes Standard by 2025 (aimed at ensuring that new homes produce at least 75% fewer CO2 emissions when compared to the 2013 standards), the government says that the Future Homes Standard “marks an important step on our journey towards a cleaner, greener built environment and it supports us in our target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050".

The first step of the journey for the Regulations became effective in June 2022 and the government hopes this initial uplift will "provide a meaningful and achievable increase to the energy efficiency standards in the short term". The new regulations impact both domestic and non-domestic buildings as well as new and existing buildings.

Two of The Building Regulation Requirements are being updated:

  • Regulation F (updated requirements and recommendations relating to ventilation); and
  • Regulation L (new efficiency standards and requirements for materials focussing on the conservation of fuel and power).

There are also two new requirements being introduced:

  • Regulation O (new measures such as window glazing limits to mitigate overheating); and
  • Regulation S (introducing the requirement of infrastructure for the charging of electric vehicles).

Impact on developers

The new regulations came into force on 15 June 2022 (the "Effective Date").

If a building notice, initial notice, or full plan has been submitted before the Effective Date, the property will not be caught under the new regulations and the previous regulations will continue to apply.

However, for the previous regulations to apply, in addition to the above, building work must have started before 15 June 2023. From 15 June 2023, the new regulations will apply to all buildings where work has not started regardless of the date that building consent was obtained.

It is estimated that around 10,000 new build homes will need to reapply for planning permission as the new regulations will kick into force where building has not commenced by 15 June 2023. The impact is likely to be felt mainly by larger developments which may be phased or staggered, but smaller developments will also be caught where there has been a delay in commencement.