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Government floats compulsory greening in response to IGT report

Homeowners could be forced to green their homes when they call in builders for unrelated jobs, H&V News has learned.

The plans were expected to be announced by the government this week in its response to the Innovation and Growth Team’s Low Carbon Construction report.

A stakeholder working group is being set up to make recommendations on what building work could justify mandatory efficiency upgrades, what should be considered and how the additional requirements should be phased in. It will report in July and a public consultation will be launched in December.

The measures could be brought in under the forthcoming review of Building Regulations, which is due to be completed in 2013.

The proposals emerged amid concerns that the measures intended to incentivise the market for low-carbon building work - including the Green Deal and Renewable Heat Incentive, along with the Green Investment Bank - may not be enough.

Parts of the draft government response describe the IGT’s report as “sobering” and says it may “be necessary to consider introducing further incentives and interventions” to help cut emissions.

Willmott Dixon head of retrofit David Adams (pictured) said forcing people to have energy efficiency upgrades if they get other building work done - sometimes referred to as consequential improvements - was “absolutely the right thing to do”.

He said: “With appropriate support from the Green Deal to ease the financial concerns, it can be an important mechanism for driving take-up of low energy measures.”

Federation of Master Builders director of external affairs Brian Berry agreed, saying the measure would help support SME involvement in the Green Deal.

But although the government response to the IGT will acknowledge that ministers bear responsibility for creating a framework of incentives and interventions to drive change, it also makes clear the “number of cases where it is accepted that government has to use ‘command and control’ regulation will be much reduced”.

Instead, it calls on industry to build on the collaborative work done by the IGT in compiling the original report.