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M&E body slams failures over Part L

The Government’s failure to support its own legislation threatens to undermine the industry’s sustainability drive, according to leading contractors.

Building services contractors’ group M&E Sustainability has denounced the Government’s reluctance to enforce Part L of the Building Regulations. Describing the situation as “shambolic”, it has raised serious doubts about the future impact of other sustainability measures.

“The grassroots of the industry has seen no change at all,” said HVCA president John Miller.

“Contractors are not hearing or seeing anything about enforcement of Part L. Building control officers have responsibility for this, but many are turning a blind eye.

“This year sees the introduction of energy certificates for buildings and mandatory inspection of air conditioning systems, but will these important measures also be undermined by the Government’s reluctance to adequately police them?”

Members of M&E Sustainability, a joint initiative formed by the HVCA and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), are concerned that failure to enforce regulations will undermine the programme of Competent Person Schemes set up by the industry to allow properly qualified contractors to self-certify their work under Part L.

“What incentive is there to join a scheme if unqualified companies are allowed to continue operating without sanction?” said ECA Group CEO David Pollock. “Does anyone actually have experience of Part L enforcement?”

Trading Standards officers will be charged with enforcing building energy certificates and air conditioning inspections, but the members expressed serious doubts about their ability to take on this potentially massive task.

“Sadly, this is all going to come back to lawyers,” said Mr Miller. “When they get involved at sale or rent of a building, they will insist on the certificates being produced. This will create a scramble to put things right, but by then it will all be too late as the building will have been performing in an unsustainable way for years.”