New Energy Assessment regulations for Non-Domestic Buildings - it’s all getting complicated (updated)

13/Feb/2014
Blog Author: 
Mike Tofts

The amendments of approved document ADL2A (guidance for meeting building regulations for the construction of new buildings that are not dwellings) will be introduced from the 6th April 2014.  The intention of the update is to effectively produce an aggregate 9% reduction in CO2 emissions across the range of non-domestic properties when compared with the previous build standards, set long ago in 2010. This 9% improvement is thought to be achievable for most building types simply from improvements in fabric and fixed building services.

As is normally the case, not all regions of the UK will necessarily adopt this standard and not all necessarily at the same time.  England will implement on the 6th whilst Wales have decided to review their ‘newly acquired’ regulations and may adopt this standard, or a variant of it, later this year.  Scotland and Northern Ireland stand apart by having their own standards established last year - which will continue for the time being.

Software applications will need to change to incorporate these standards and to include further updates and improvements being made to the iSBEM application.   We also have the potential pitfall of one SBEM standard being required for Wales and Northern Ireland (4.1.e) and the later standard (5.2.a) being required for England and Scotland.  Software providers are now franticly trying to get their heads round the changes and the recently resurrected DCLG approvals procedure in time for the fast approaching introduction date.

We are confident that all NES software will be compliant by the time these regulations are introduced.

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Mike Tofts is Technical Manager for Commercial Buildings at NES.

Update 13/03/14:

BRE have confirmed that the update will be relevant to England and Scotland but not Wales and NI, so all schemes will have to have two standards running concurrently to cover the full spread of Building regulations assessments and EPC lodgements.

Update 04/04/14:

In a rather surprising late move, Scottish Buildings Standards announced that they would not be adopting the latest SBEM standard of 5.2.b for the delivery of non domestic EPCs until 1st October 2014.  

This leaves the release of SBEM 5.2.b on the 6th April as being relevant to commercial buildings in England only for the time being.  Furthermore, DCLG also announced the applicability of a transitional period for ‘English’ non domestic EPCs whereby for the month following the 6th April, lodgements can continue to be made at the 4.1.e standard in addition to the new 5.2.b standard.  

The result is that we have the curious occurrence of concurrent lodgements of EPCs at different ‘standards’ of SBEM, although, in practice, some previous updates have also followed a similarly ‘soft’ changeover.  The additional month at the existing standard is undoubtedly welcomed by software providers struggling to obtain approval for their applications at the new standard.  

Watch this space for developments as Wales are anticipated to adopt the latest SBEM version in July of this year and Scotland in October as stated above and nobody seems quite sure what NI are up to at the moment.

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