The impact of the new building regulations is already significant. It isn’t necessarily just the transition though; it’s the implementation of the legislation that matters - and this is already causing the industry a huge headache.
The legislation was released earlier this year but the compliance documentation and software weren’t released at the same time.
With only a short time to go before buildings have to be Part L 2010 compliant, the software is still not commercially available.
The transition arrangements are opaque and less than satisfactory. The sad reality is that many buildings built in 2011 will not comply with the new legislation.
The industry is already seeing tenders specifying 2010 compliance, which is farcical given the tools to demonstrate compliance are still in their infancy.
The message around the overall 25 per cent carbon reduction target can’t just be taken at face value - every building will be different.
So what does his mean for contractors? Firstly, no contractor should accept the responsibility of guaranteeing compliance - they don’t control all of the variables, and compliance cannot be achieved just by providing more efficient systems and equipment.
Secondly, to create best value and guarantee compliance the whole supply chain needs to work together - looking at the project design and construction holistically. Unfortunately, current procurement methods don’t favour collaboration and the race to the bottom over price destroys value, so the integration required for best value compliance isn’t happening.
Lead by example
The answer is to be the building services contractor that can bring technical leadership and influence to the project and create a collaborative environment. Those that do this will lead the competition.
At NG Bailey, we are undertaking an awareness campaign to engage all our internal and external stakeholders so they understand what the revision means. We are also undertaking scenario modelling to help us understand how different scenarios affect compliance and therefore us and our customers - I would urge other contactors to do the same.
This legislation revision could be a fantastic driver for change both in terms of fulfilling the government’s commitment to a low-carbon economy and in reconstituting the building blocks that lead to integrated design and build.
Everything that the Wolstenholme Report extols has been torn down over the past year because it’s all been about lowest price - a strategy that has no longevity. Could Part L 2010 be just what we need to push us all back together?
Paul Newby is technical director at NG Bailey