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Part L update hit by software delay

The latest version of Part L energy regulations could be delayed by six months due to hold ups in the development of essential software.

The SAP 2009 software update is fundamental to ensuring designs comply with sustainable building regulations when the revised version of Part L of the regulations is released in October.

But building energy rating certifiers BRE, the company responsible for approving the software on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government, are yet to receive any submissions of the software from commercial developers.

If the regulation misses its October deadline it will be delayed until April, as regulations are only introduced on 1 October or 6 April due to parliamentary law.

Experts from the heating and ventilation industry have criticised the government for not ensuring builders are given enough time to familiarise themselves with the program before the regulations are enforced.

HVCA technical officer Bob Towse said: “This is putting our integrity at risk. We’re pushing the contractors to strive for these targets and when they see the government being lacklustre about them it sends out a message.

“We are on the fast track to zero-carbon buildings, but if the government doesn’t care then why should they?

“If we don’t get this through in October, I can’t see the government hitting its carbon reduction targets at all, but Europe are driving this - we need to keep up.”

BRE director for sustainable energy Paul Davidson said: “The specifications for this software have been about for ages and several commercial developers have got nearly complete versions available for free. Builders have been aware of this for a long time.

“BRE will need to approve the final software but we’re yet to have any developers submit theirs.

“We can do the approval very quickly so I still don’t believe there will be a delay.

“I believe the main concerns are from builders worrying about getting to grips with the update but it’s actually very similar to what’s already out there.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government this week admitted that the planned roll out of the energy regulation itself had also yet to be approved by the government, , but a spokesperson insisted they were still ‘on track’.

Meanwhile, the government’s sustainability watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission, was this week axed as part of coalitionspending cuts, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs confirmed.


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