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The Future Homes and Buildings Standards: 2023 consultation

Posted: 15th December 2023

The Future Homes and Buildings Standards: 2023 consultation on changes to Part 6, Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for dwellings and non-domestic buildings and seeking evidence on previous changes to Part O (overheating).

The UK government has set a legally binding target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. From homes to offices, the UK’s built environment is responsible for around 30% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; decarbonising new buildings is an important part of that challenge. As set out in the Heat and Buildings Strategy, this also presents substantial opportunities for the UK: to grow skills, build diverse job markets, level up across the country, reduce bills by improving efficiency, tackle fuel poverty, have warmer and better buildings, and ensure our energy system is secure and fit for the future. The standards we set for the construction of new homes and non-domestic buildings can put us on the right path to net zero by 2050 and allow us to take advantage of these opportunities. Higher standards of energy efficiency and moving to cleaner sources of heat allow us to continue to improve the quality of our buildings and reduce running costs for occupants, keeping energy bills and down and ensuring buildings are warm and comfortable to live in. This will likely increase build costs, but there will also be wider benefits to local supply chains for renewable technologies and skills developments for the future. Making our homes and workplaces healthier and more comfortable also means making them resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The minimum energy efficiency requirements for new homes and non-domestic buildings are set through Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) of Schedule 1 and Part 6 of the Building Regulations. In 2021 the government implemented an uplift to Part L and introduced regulations to reduce overheating risk in new residential buildings (Part O), which came into effect on 15 June 2022. As a result of the uplift, new homes and non-domestic buildings are now expected to produce significantly lower carbon emissions compared to those built to the 2013 standards. The uplift represents an important step towards a cleaner, greener and safer built environment.

While progress has been made, the Heat and Buildings Strategy outlines the need to eliminate virtually all emissions arising from heating, cooling and energy use in our buildings. The 2025 Future Homes and Buildings Standards aim to build on the 2021 Part L uplift and set even more ambitious requirements for energy efficiency and heating for new homes and non-domestic buildings. These standards will be in line with meeting our 2050 net zero target and will mean no further work will be needed for new buildings to produce zero carbon emissions as the electricity grid decarbonises. They can also reduce running costs, and, coupled with improvements already made to ventilation and energy efficiency standards, can prevent damp and mould, excess cold and heat, and improve air quality. Delivering warm, safe and decent homes is a priority for government in setting these new standards.

When we consulted on the 2021 Part L uplift, we also outlined our overarching vision for the Future Homes and Buildings Standards. We published our responses to the two stages of that consultation in January 2021 and December 2021. This consultation builds on the valuable feedback we received during that process and sets out more detailed proposals for the 2025 Future Homes and Buildings Standards.

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) within the Health and Safety Executive was established by the Building Safety Act 2022 and has a key legal duty to keep the safety and standards of all buildings under review. The BSR provides the Department with technical advice on new proposals related to buildings. The BSR has worked together with DLUHC on the development of these proposals and produced the technical specifications for the Future Homes and Buildings Standards.

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