In June 2022, new changes to the building regulations came into effect. For all new homes, the main changes involve finding more carbon-efficient ways to heat our homes, improving their thermal efficiency, reducing overheating, and preparing to accommodate electric vehicle charging. There also some changes that will affect extension and renovation projects too (see below). The Approved Documents which have been updated are F, L, O and S.
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Building regulations 2022 – new build homes
New build homes will need to produce at least 31% less carbon emissions than required previously. There is a push towards the installation of electric heating systems and renewable energy sources (such as solar power and air and ground source heat pumps).
- New heating systems must not have a maximum flow temperature of more than 55°C.
- The Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) level in new homes will be set by a ‘full fabric specification’.
- There are new minimum U-values for new homes. However, timber doors and windows have a grace period to give manufacturers time to transition, and should meet the new standard by 15 June 2023.
- The new Approved Document O now limits the amount of new glazing your self-build can have to reduce unwanted solar gain. It also stipulates new levels of cross-ventilation.
- The new Approved Document S requires all domestic new builds to have an electric vehicle charging point or the preparatory work for one.
New building regulations 2022 – extensions and renovations
The new building regulations have less impact on extension and renovation projects than new build homes, but the following changes will now apply.
- SAP compliance will now be applied to extensions built on existing properties.
- There are new minimum U-values for new thermal elements in existing homes. However, timber doors and windows have a grace period to give manufacturers time to transition, and should meet the new standard by 15 June 2023.
- Replacement heating systems must not have a maximum flow temperature of more than 55°C.
Does part O (Overheating) apply to extension and renovation projects?
The statutory guidance for Approved Document O states that it only applies to new buildings:
‘Part O does not apply to extensions or conservatories added to residential buildings after they are built’ nor ‘buildings undergoing a change of use.’
The above is intended as simplified starting point only, and the official standards should be used to assess compliance. The revised versions of the Approved Documents are available here.
When do the new building regulations (2022) come into effect?
The new changes apply from 15 June 2002, except where a building notice has been given or full plans have been submitted, provided the building work starts before 15 June 2023.
How to gain approval for the new building regulations (2022)
There are three routes to gaining building regulations approval.
1. Full plans application
This is where you submit plans and details to your local council (building control department) in advance of the work starting on site. These documents will usually be more developed and detailed than a set of planning drawings and documents. The building control department will then review the proposals and should issue you a decision within five weeks or, by agreement with you, eight weeks.
Where the proposals do not comply, they may ask you to submit amended or additional details. Otherwise, you would be issued a conditional approval, where they will outline specific conditions that must be met, or full plans approval if the drawings show full compliance.
A building inspector from your local authority will then visit your property as the works progress. They should be in communication with your architect and builder as they will need to inspect key milestones of your project, e.g. the foundations, damp proofing and drainage. They will also issue you with a ‘completion certificate’ once the project has completed, to document that the work complies with the building regulations.
A further advantage of the ‘full plans’ application (over a ‘building notice’ – see below) is the fact that most items relating to compliance are likely to have been identified and addressed during the course of the plans being checked.
2. Building notice
This is much quicker and less involved than the full plans application and may well be most suited to a simple home extension. Basically, you or your builder give notice to the Local Building Authority that work is about to start – you do not need to submit plans to the council first, apart from a location plan for the extension works. Before work starts, make sure you consult with your builder and/or architect and agree who will be responsible for this notice.
For a home extension, we’d recommend working with an architect as you will need to be confident that the work will comply with building regulations, otherwise you might have to demolish/re-do any work that does not comply. In other words, it’s a bit more of a risk than the full plans application, where you have the security that the main design aspects have already been approved.
As with the ‘full plans’ process, the work will be inspected at key milestones as it progresses.
3. Go private – appoint an approved inspector
An approved inspector may be an individual but is more likely to be an organisation which verifies and checks that your project complies with the building regulations, instead of the local council. The Construction Industry Council approves and registers these inspectors and holds the list of approved inspectors. Using an approved inspector can be invaluable, particularly if your proposals are out-of-the-ordinary, or push the boundaries of the ‘approved documents’. Your approved inspector will be on your side to make sure your proposals ultimately comply with regulations. They can:
- provide you with advice during the design process and check for compliance before work starts
- give notice to the council that works are starting
- inspect work for compliance as it progresses
- issue a final certificate on completion to show that the works comply
- offer speed of service by giving feedback/assessment on the design information quickly.
- offer consistency of interpretation on the building regulations, across county borders in all of England and Wales
- offer a single point of contact for your project.
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