In January 2021 the response to the Future Homes Standard consultation was finally published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). The new regulations will be published in December 2021 and come into effect from June 2022. A further uplift will be consulted on in 2023, coming into effect in 2025.
Whilst full details won’t be available until December 2021 when the regulations are published, the response to the consultation gives us a good idea of what to expect.
New homes will be expected to produce 31% less CO2 emissions compared to current standards.
Some big changes to the performance metrics had been proposed, but following the consultation, there will only be one big change; the addition of a primary energy target. The 4 performance metrics for Part L 2021 will be:
- Primary energy target
- CO2 emissions target
- Fabric energy efficiency target
- Minimum standards for fabric and fixed building services
Affordability as a metric had been proposed in the previous consultation but this is no longer moving forward.
Primary energy target:
The primary energy target is the only new addition to the performance metrics. It is a calculation of the energy required to deliver the regulated energy services used in the dwelling, heating, lighting and ventilation, taking into account the efficiency of conversion, for example in power stations, gas boilers and communal systems.
Accredited Construction Details (ACD’s) are being removed as they are out of date. It will now be necessary to find alternatives, have psi values calculated or use the default figures – something we wouldn’t recommend.
Fossil fuel heating systems such as gas boilers are expected to fail to meet new performance standards. It is anticipated that heat pumps will become much more common and heat networks will also play a part.
Guidance in Part L 2021 will encourage new heating systems to be designed to operate at a flowrate temperature of 55oC or less.
It will become necessary for all new dwellings to be airtightness tested. Most developments are already doing this, so we don’t anticipate this having a significant impact. An alternative testing method the Pulse test, will also be introduced.
The gap between design intent and actual performance is well known. With the aim of reducing this gap and improving build quality, photographic evidence will be required for Part L 2021. Quite how this will work in practice is something we are interested to see as we believe it may be problematic.
Current transitional arrangements mean that houses are currently being built to standards that have been superseded twice. To avoid this transitional arrangements will apply to individual buildings only, not site wide.
Local Planning Authorities:
It had been proposed in the consultation that the Planning and Energy Act 2008 would be amended to prevent Local Planning Authorities from setting local standards for new homes. This is not going to happen, meaning we can expect to continue seeing a variety of requirements based on local planning authority location.