Government publishes new Approved Documents

In December 2021, the UK government published its much-anticipated response to the Future Buildings Standard Consultation. As a result of this, the Building Regulations are changing and an interim uplift on current standards comes into force in June 2022. To reflect the upcoming changes, new Approved Documents have been published.

The new Approved Documents are:

Approved Document L, volume 1: dwellings

Approved Document L, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings

Approved Document F, volume 1: dwellings

Approved Document F, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings

Approved Document O

Approved Document O, which applies to new residential buildings, is an entirely new document that covers the overheating mitigation requirements of the building regulations. The updated Approved Documents L and F reflect the government’s commitment to lower carbon emissions from new homes by around 30% in comparison with current standards. Emissions from other new buildings such as offices and shops will be reduced by 27%.

Under the transitional arrangements, if a building notice, initial notice, or full plans for building work are submitted to a local authority before 15th June 2022, then providing the building work commences by 15th June 2023, work on that individual building is permitted to continue under the previous standards.

The interim uplift in standards will play an important part in preparing the construction industry for the Future Homes and Buildings Standards that come into effect in 2025. These new standards aim to bring the UK towards a cleaner, greener built environment.

Heating and powering buildings currently contributes 40% of the UK’s total energy use and so it is hoped that embracing low carbon technology and using materials in a more efficient way will not just lower energy bills but also contribute positively towards the UK’s climate change ambitions.

The publication of the response to the Future Buildings Standards is an important step on the UK’s pathway towards net zero. Going forwards there will be a strong focus on constructing buildings that are fit for the future with lower carbon emissions, higher sustainability and a reduced negative impact on the environment.

Approved Document S

The government has also introduced Part S to the Building Regulations. This applies to infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. The newly published Approved Document S provides technical guidance regarding the installation and charge point requirements and applies to new residential and non-residential buildings, buildings undergoing a material change of use to dwellings, residential and non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation and mixed-use buildings that are either new, or undergoing major renovation.

This update forms part of the UK’s drive to switch to electric vehicles. A ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will come into force in 2030, meaning the country needs to upgrade its infrastructure to support an increasing number of electric vehicles.