Robert Jenrick

A new suite of energy efficiency standards for new build homes has been announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, which are expected to be met in full by 2025. The new standards will reduce energy consumption and boost the efficiency of new builds, and will be assisted by a new construction products regulator.

Carbon reduction

The new rules will affect all new builds, ensuring that they are highly energy efficient as the industry moves towards being zero carbon ready by 2025. The will require all new homes to have low carbon heating, resulting in a 75-80% lower emissions rate in comparison to current levels.

In the lead up to full compliance in 2025, new builds will need to secure a reduction of 31% lower carbon emissions, from this year. 

This means that anyone building a custom or self build home will need to ensure their plans take account of the new interim targets. There will be stringent transitional arrangements in place to provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building, which last for one year and apply to individual homes, rather than the whole development.

Among other priorities, the plans include measures to tackle overheating in residential buildings, with a new overheating mitigation requirement in the Building Regulations. This has become an increasingly common problem with new builds. 

Existing housing will also be subject to higher energy efficiency standards, with improvements for extensions, repairs and parts being more energy efficient. The standards have been written in response to the Future Homes Standard Consultation Summary of Responses.

A Future Building Standards consultation has also been launched for non-domestic buildings around higher performance targets, which closes on 13th April 2021.

Construction Products Regulator

MHCLG also announced a new National Construction Products Regulator will be established to ensure homes are built from safe materials. The post will have the power to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk, with powers to prosecute companies who fail to observe the new rules..

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “Improving the energy performance of buildings is vital to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and protecting the environment for future generations to come.

“The radical new standards announced today will not only improve energy efficiency of existing homes and other buildings, but will also ensure our new homes are fit for the future, by reducing emissions from new homes by at least 75%. This will help deliver greener homes and buildings, as well as reducing energy bills for hard-working families and businesses.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, called for greater support for Small- and Medium Enterprise (SME) housebuilders to help them the new standards following the difficult training conditions that resulted from the pandemic.

“Local SME house builders deliver high quality, beautiful homes, many of which are low carbon…. Unfortunately the timetable set out today will be a challenge for builders without more support to build back greener,” he said.

“The Government’s Green Jobs Task Force must develop a nationwide training programme to upskill the existing workforce and bring new entrants into the building industry. The Government should also use the forthcoming Budget to tackle some of the long-standing barriers facing local builders such as poorly resourced planning departments. It’s unacceptable that small site planning applications are typically waiting one year for a determination.”

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