How long does it take Local Authorities to implement changes to Building Regulations?
It's often the case that changes to approved documents take a very long time to filter through to local authorities, having worked in the sector for many years it appears the "sweet spot" is around 2 years. When the UK Government introduces new measures in a bid to combat the effects of climate change and limit the effect that new homes have on it
, it takes an average of 2 years for a local authority to start implementing the changes as a planning condition, take Part G for instance this was introduced to limit the amount of potable water being used in a household by ensuring that new homes were fitted with new technologies such as aerated taps, dual flush toilets, low flow rate showers etc: the introduction of Part G was designed to minimise the amount of water used in a house as it is fast becoming a very scarce commodity.
So what is Potable Water?
Potable water is water that has been deemed fit to drink, so drinking quality water, but when you think that we use "drinking water" to flush our toilets and wash our clothes it seems strange to think of the work and effort that goes into producing water fit for drinking can be used for tasks that don't really require such a high quality of water, modern detergents mean that other types of water could easily be used and give the same level of cleanliness that we expect. Solutions such as greywater systems and rainwater collection systems mean that we can re-use water from other sources in and around the home, doesn't it seem strange that we use drinking quality water on plants? When nature has clearly shown us that rainwater is more than adequate to keep plants replenished, greywater system which can use waste shower and bath water can be used for flushing toilets, the water used to flush a toilet doesn't need to be off drinking quality and if you think that every time a toilet is flushed between 3 and 9 litres of drinking quality water is wasted, no wonder water is in such short supply.
Back to the main topic!
Sorry about that, I went a bit off topic there, the main reason for writing this article was to look at the time and variations of requirements for local building controls to implement additions to building regulations, more importantly, Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Power, often the changes are driven by our requirement to reach goals given to use by the EU, and agreements with partner countries to clean up our act so we can leave a positive legacy for our children and grandchildren, so why don't all planning departments implement changes to Part L at the same time? Why do some parts of the country now have a requirement to build "Zero Carbon" homes and others are only just starting to ask for a small reduction beyond building regulations requirement? Well, I don't know the answer, maybe the Government are still using carrier pigeons to spread the word, it should be that implementing changes to any aspect of approved documents should be the same across the board, rather than the current scattergun approach, we all have an obligation to help to mitigate the effects of climate change, the Government has signed commitments to reduce the amount of CO2 we produce as a country, but it is so fragmented, and very poorly enforced.