The Future Homes Standard Update is the government’s uplift in the energy efficiency standards for new homes that will come into effect in June 2022.

The Future Homes Standard is a government set of energy efficiency measures required for all new homes being built in the United Kingdom. These include measures related to energy-efficient building fabric (insulation and air tightness) and building services (heating, hot water, lighting, etc).

After an initial period of consultation between 2019 – 2021, a clear set of standards have been outlined. You can read them in full here.

When will the new standard come into effect?

The new regulations will come into effect in June 2022 and apply to individual dwellings rather than developments. So, for a dwelling to be registered under the current regulations, a building notice must be submitted by June 2022 and work must commence by June 2023.

What do the new standards mean for new dwellings?

Air Tightness Testing
All new dwellings will require an air test; sample testing will no longer be an option. Dwellings without mechanical ventilation will receive no benefit in SAP for scores below 3 m3/ (h.m2).

CO2 Emissions
Part L 2021 will require a 31% reduction in overall CO2 emissions over the current Part L regulations. With a further uplift to 75% reduction by 2025.

Primary Energy
A new primary energy target will take into account the efficiency of a dwelling’s heating system, including any upstream energy efficiency losses (power station efficiencies, transportation, and transmission losses).

Fabric Energy Efficiency
The Fabric efficiency targets will be increased; however, the exact amount is yet to be announced. The minimum u-values for individual building elements will also be reduced. This will require dwellings to have higher insulation levels and lower air tightness scores.

Thermal Bridging Details
Government-approved construction details will be removed meaning specific thermal bridging details or bespoke calculations will likely be required to pass the SAP calculations.

Building Services and Heating Systems
Minimum standards for building services will be introduced for heating systems, heat pumps, cooling systems, and lighting. Effectively banning the worst-performing boilers.

SAP Evidence Requirements
To address the performance gap there will definitely be a greater requirement for evidence for the SAP calculation. , the SAP assessor and developer will be required to sign a BRIEL (Building Regulations England Part L) compliance report as well as provide photographic evidence throughout the build process.

Overheating Regulations
There will be restrictions on the amount of glazing relative to the floor area of the building to reduce overheating risks. This can be overcome by demonstrating compliance through dynamic simulation thermal modelling.

What’s next?

Future Building Standards
The government has also launched a second consultation on additional changes to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations, and on proposals to address overheating in residential buildings. This also contains proposals for tougher requirements for commercial buildings, extensions, renovations, and changes of use projects. The results will be published later this year.

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