A plumbers guide to building regulations

min read time
Nov 14, 2022 4:32:23 PM

A whole host of new building regulations have recently been introduced across England, creating a new set of requirements for the entire building sector to tackle. To simplify things for the plumbing community, we’ve worked closely with the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering , to explore these latest changes and to identify how they will affect future work on domestic and non domestic buildings. An expert technical manager from the CIPHE, Jerry Whiteley, has highlighted the most relevant building regulations for new builds and existing properties and has even offered his top tips to successfully combat these challenges. 

Building regulations overview

With a massive push on sustainability throughout the UK, the latest building regulations are designed to improve the overall energy efficiency in buildings. So, the newly approved documents known as parts L, F, O and S introduce requirements that lower carbon emissions and help to prepare for the Future Homes Standard – legislation designed to future-proof new build homes with low carbon heating and impressive levels of energy efficiency by 2025.

England’s building regulations for new homes, extensions, existing buildings and non domestic buildings have all recently changed. While updates to existing housing stock won’t come into play until 2035.

Part L impacts most

Out of all the changes being introduced, Part L will have the biggest impact on plumbers as it focuses on the energy efficiency of properties, in particular how to save fuel and power. The most relevant Part L changes which apply to new build properties include:

  • Reducing carbon emissions in domestic new builds by 31% and non-domestic new builds by 27% by utilising low carbon heating and hot water technology.
  • A new maximum flow temperature of 55oC for wet central heating systems in all new builds.
  • New non-domestic buildings with a heating or air conditioning system over 180kW will require a building automation and control system.

For existing nondomestic properties all heating and domestic hot water boiler systems must include controls that improve energy efficiencies
through Part L. Additionally, to measure energy efficiency, plumbers will have to use the ‘primary energy rate’ metric. This is a holistic measurement of the efficiency of the heating system, plus the energy used to produce fuel and deliver it to the building, combined with the efficiency of the supplying power station for electricity. This will be used alongside CO2 metrics to assess Part L compliance.

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Top tips to stay ahead

With the building regulations in place for all new build properties in England, and more set for the future, Jerry has also shared his top tips and recommendations to plumbers who are navigating the latest requirements.

Learn and understand the new regulations

It sounds simple but as installers, you will be on the front line rolling out the regulatory changes, so you must take the time to understand each approved document and how it’ll impact the work you do. We’ve outlined the most relevant changes above but iif you want to digest each part in full, you can access them online here.

Understand the future of the industry and invest to upskill

To stay ahead, you will need to understand the path the industry is on and must be willing to continuously upskill to install
and maintain a wide range of sustainable technologies. If you’re not sure where to start, the CIPHE provides Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) courses and access to technical resources for all its members. You can view the full range of benefits and
information on the CIPHE membership online at: www.ciphe.org.uk

Communicate with consumers

Communication will be key because consumers will be looking for advice and support on how to insulate their homes to reduce heat loss and heat input while making sure a home isn’t affected by poor indoor air quality.

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Download the full pdf guide here