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25th Jun 2024|Land|News|

A Guide To Green Building Regulations

Green building regulations sit at the heart of property and land development – they are vital rules that ensure each and every new building that is constructed in the UK is safe, secure and built to a high standard, whilst recognising the importance ESG regulations and the nation’s green targets. But which building regulations could impact your next development? 

If you’re developing, thinking of purchasing or looking at ways to ensure that your next land and property venture is ahead of Green and Environmental Regulation – as well as head and shoulders above the competitive landscape – we’re sharing five key green regulations that you must know about. Please note that this is far from an exhaustive list of building regulations – to uncover which building regulations are most pertinent to you, please contact a member of the Land team here

About Green Building Regulations

The Green Agenda is becoming increasingly important to many across the construction and property industries. ESG-focused, environmentally-friendly rules and regulations are paving the path towards a more sustainable and effective approach to urban planning. It is expected that green constructions will become the norm in the UK property market – not the exception.

In 2021, the government set new targets for future projects, stating that new homes and commercial units need to produce 30% less carbon emissions. It’s no wonder the government is being so strict with its ESG policies – British homes emit more emissions than the nation’s cars, creating 58.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. 

“The largest potential [for the reduction of greenhouse gases] is in the buildings sector.”

Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

However, there are also an abundance of building regulations and environmental standards land-buyers, developers and constructors need to be aware of. Here are just a few…

The Climate Change Act 2008

The main goal of the Climate Change Act is to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. As previously discussed, the construction industry is a major source of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, with skyrocketing greenhouse gasses being a huge contributor to global warming which in turn creates sea level rises, habitat loss and intense heatwaves. Given the legally binding targets of the Climate Change Act and the objective of achieving Net Zero by 2050, it is crucial for developers to follow these directives to reduce their contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Building Regulations 2010 (Part L)

This document addresses the conservation of fuel and power during the construction of new homes in England and establishes energy efficiency standards for both new and existing homes. Key points include:

  • New homes will be evaluated using the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) calculation, specifically SAP10.
  • Self-builders are encouraged to meet specific energy efficiency targets for their homes such as the target fabric efficiency rate (TFEE) for home insulation and target emission rate (TER). They must conduct an on-site audit to ensure the design specifications in their plans are correctly executed, providing photographic evidence as proof.

The document also includes amendments for existing premises, which should be adhered to in change of use cases.

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) examines the expected significant environmental effects of a project. It ensures that these environmental impacts are properly considered along with economic and social factors when making planning decisions. The EIA process allows for minimizing or mitigating negative environmental impacts where possible. Additionally, it gives the public and other stakeholders the chance to participate in the decision-making process regarding permits that affect the environment.

Future Homes Standard

The forthcoming Future Homes Standard mandates that new homes built from 2025 should produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions compared to current regulations. All new residential constructions will be required to incorporate designs to reduce overheating and create significant carbon savings. Additionally, improvements to ventilation systems are being introduced to enhance the well-being of residents in newly built homes and to reduce the transmission of airborne viruses in new non-residential buildings. 

The Future Homes Standard also places emphasis on new homes and non-domestic buildings that are ‘zero-carbon ready’, meaning that because they use electric or other renewable energy sources and no work will be necessary to allow them to achieve zero carbon emissions when the electricity grid is fully decarbonised. This means gas boilers, including hybrid and hydrogen-ready boilers, will not meet the proposed standards. 

There is recognition throughout the Future Homes Standard that developers, who are looking for cost-effective, affordable, practical and safe building solutions, may “choose to develop their own approaches to meeting the requirements” as a means of mitigating cost issues, material accessibility and other factors impacting their overheads. For more information on how the Centrick team can help you mitigate these challenges whilst remaining compliant with these regulations, get in touch.

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

Biodiversity Net Gain aims to protect and improve the health of natural and urban ecosystems in the UK by mitigating the potential negative effects of new developments. Its goal is to ensure that the future state and quality of these ecosystems are better than their current condition.

According to the Environment Act 2021, most new developments in England must achieve at least a 10% increase in biodiversity, as measured by the Defra BNG metric. The full legislation took effect in February 2024 for large sites and will apply to small sites starting in April. This requirement involves all stakeholders in the built environment, including designers, architects, financial institutions, and consultants. As such, developers will now need to conduct biodiversity impact assessments to determine their developments’ influence on local habitats, develop biodiversity gain plans, and implement ways to track the growth of these new or preserved habitats for the next thirty years. Should you need guidance on how to implement your BNG strategy, our team are here to help – we put ESG at the heart of everything we do, and are passionate about helping developers across the nation do the same.

Uncover The Secrets Of Land Development With Centrick

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or develop land, the Centrick team are here to help. We don’t just have a comprehensive knowledge of green building regulations – our team of in-house land experts are able to help you set out your goals, acquire your plot, plan your development and put you in touch with the right connections to expedite the entire process. To find out more, contact our team, and don’t forget to download your free copy of Land: How To Buy It, How To Develop It, How To Sell It below:

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