Significant changes to building regulations took effect on 15th June 2022. These include new increased standards of insulation and ventilation in all building. The latest updates could be considered an ‘interim uplift’ in the energy efficiency expected in buildings, ahead of stricter rules (namely the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard) being introduced in 2025. Under the 2025 increased standards, new buildings must be capable of being ‘net zero’ in terms of operational carbon when the grid decarbonises.
The policy changes are primarily focused on:
- New non-domestic buildings
- Existing non-domestic buildings
- New and existing housing.
Impact on current building projects
The current changes have been applicable to building projects since 15 June 2022, except where a building notice has been given or full plans have been submitted with local Councils. However, the new regulations will apply to all projects from 15 June 2023.
This means that building regulation applications submitted before 15th June 2022, with building work starting after 15th June 2023, may need the building design specification updating to meet the new requirements.
Key changes relating to churches:
- Reduced carbon emissions – new church buildings would need to produce at least 27% less carbon emissions as compared to the previous regulations. A new metric for measuring energy efficiency called ‘primary energy’ has been introduced. This metric will measure the efficiency of the building’s heating as well as the energy required to deliver fuel to the building.
- New minimum fabric U-Value for walls – this is now set as 0.26 W/m2K and most windows and curtain walling must achieve 1.6 W/m2.K. This will apply to any new elements added to existing buildings.
- Heating and hot water systems – new build and replacement heating systems to church buildings must have a maximum flow temperature of 55°C, and existing church buildings must improve the efficiency of heating and hot water systems through the installation of new controls.
- Lighting– the minimum lighting efficacy in new church buildings has been raised to 80 luminaire lumens per circuit watt for display lighting and 95 for general lighting.
- Background trickle ventilators – these have been recommended to new or replacement windows for church buildings as non-mechanical means of introducing fresh outside air into habitable rooms.
- CO2 monitors in offices – a requirement has been introduced for CO2 monitors in all offices to seek to ensure internal air quality
- Electric vehicle charge points – for new church buildings and those undergoing major renovation which will have more than 10 parking spaces after the major renovation is completed, one of those parking spaces must have access to one electric vehicle charge point. There is also a requirement for cable routes for electric vehicle charge points to be installed in a minimum of one fifth of the total number of remaining parking spaces.
Further information on the new Building Regulations can be found on the Government website: