Conservatory tax axed- but what about the rest of Part L?

25 April 2012

 The Government has scrapped plans for what was dubbed a ‘conservatory tax' that would have required homeowners to install additional - and potentially expensive - energy efficiency measures when making home improvements.

Part of the complicated proposals under the England and Wales Building Regulations: Part L 2013 Consultation - ‘consequential improvements' have been part of the Government's agenda for many years.

This time, as in 2006 and 2010, it seems it has folded to pressure. Rupert Scott, TRADA's Membership and Marketing Manager, is not surprised. "If someone is having their windows replaced for example, should they really have to pay to have further energy efficiency measures undertaken, when they are already doing this with the windows?"

He said the key issue for industry is whether the plans would to create more work for construction. "There will be some who are dissuaded from upgrading their windows altogether - and in this scenario everyone loses," he said.

Another key point of the consultation - as summarised in the latest TRADA Construction Briefings document - is that the overall CO² maximum design targets have been watered down from what was expected for 2013: for dwellings, the Government's suggested position is a reduction of the 2010 CO² target by 8%. 

"This is not much of mid-way bridge between the 2010 requirements and the goal of ‘zero carbon' in 2016," says Mr Scott. "The main issue is that all changes to building regulation guidance have to be appraised for their economic impact. The bottom line is that as we increase the energy performance levels it becomes increasingly difficult to make the financial case.

"The performance standards are not that onerous but the way the Government is proposing to ask people to comply is. It needs to get much simpler."

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