The new standards reflect greater ‘joined up’ thinking between different aspects of building services design, which means they require a broader understanding of the interaction between energy consuming equipment and the building fabric.
For buildings to comply, installers will need to be more multi-skilled; have better lines of communication with other members of the supply chain; and see projects in a more integrated way.
The regulators have set out to create stronger links between the different parts of the legislation that influence our sector - namely parts F, G, J and L. Some of the ventilation standards set out in Part F were changed as a result of more stringent air tightness stipulated to meet the targets set in Part L.
The new standards have a common thread of efficiency in the areas of ventilation; water use and supply; control of combustion appliances; and energy usage.
Linking these will strengthen the hand of building services engineers because their expertise will be more critical to the overall design. Our industry will have to be included from the start as part of a more integrated supply chain.
Housebuilders will need multi-skilled engineers able to tackle safety issues such as protection from high temperature water (Part G) as well as energy efficiency challenges, which will be more familiar. Another potentially new area for many will be ventilation (Part F) and how their specific fan power requirements could affect the energy issues covered in Part L.
In addition, the new regulations will apply to almost every home and will cover associated services such as pumps, lighting and cooling systems.
The Domestic Heating Compliance Guide, issued alongside the 2006 regulations, has been totally revised and is now called The Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide. That is a significant change because it highlights the importance of installers looking at the house as a complete system with clear interaction between all the controlled services.
Controls are also a clear priority for the legislators and the compliance guide calls for separate heating zones with separate room thermostats in a variety of situations.
The 2010 regulations, which come into force this month, take us on the next step along the road to zero carbon homes by 2016 by adopting the energy requirements of Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Part L remains the most important section of the regulations for the heating industry and, in the new version, all new homes will be subject to energy efficiency requirements 25 per cent more stringent than the 2006 regulations.
Most significantly, it means that only SEDBUK ‘A’ rated boilers will be permissible from now on, both in new homes and as replacements in existing homes. Designers will also have to meet tighter targets for the building fabric and look at how heating systems interact with more heavily insulated and airtight homes.
With a new heating season fast approaching, now is the time to book training courses and get on top of the technical challenges and integrated strategy that will be required for working in our new joined-up world.
Jim Moore is regional director at Vaillant Group UK and Northern Europe