The 2006 revisions to the Building Regulations Approved Document L for England & Wales introduced the requirement to notify Building Control of any intended refurbishment work to a thermal element (Roof, Wall or Floor) of a certain size and to present the Local Authority Building Control Body (LABC) with proposals for the upgrade of its thermal performance, to ensure it met a required minimum standard.
The subsequent revision of Approved Document L in 2010 required a further 25% reduction in energy use, over the previous regulations for dwellings, based on a notional building type and enforced more stringent thermal performance values.

Current Regulations

England– At the time of writing Approved Document L of the Building Regulations for England came into force on the 6th of April 2014 with some further amendments published in April 2016.

Further revisions are planned for implementing further reductions in energy use through improved insulation values, renewable energy sources and more efficient heating, lighting and ventilation services, culminating in all new buildings being “Zero Carbon” by 2019.

Can you avoid the extra expense?

With 99% of the annual built environment consisting of existing buildings, significant carbon emission reductions can only be achieved by upgrading our existing building stock. The benefit to the building owner/operator will be a reduction in the energy costs associated with heating and cooling.
The applicable Building Regulations require minimum U-values to be achieved. The regulations state that generally if renovating a ‘thermal element’, a roof or wall for instance, there are certain specific ‘U’ Values that need to be met, usually by the provision of extra insulation.

The Exceptions

There are may be exemptions, unheated buildings, some listed/heritage buildings, buildings where it is technically unfeasible, or where the payback period (total cost of upgrading versus savings made) exceeds 15 years to achieve. Ultimately the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) is required to make a judgement on what will be required, and Sika Limited strongly advises that they are consulted early in the planning process of the project, as the potential financial consequences for non-compliance could be significant.