Energy Conservation

What work is affected

Building Regulations have applied to replacement windows since 2002 and the Government now wants to improve walls and roofs when they are being altered. This could be when you are building an extension, converting a building such as a barn into a house, making alterations internally or when renovating your house.

These new regulations represent a significant change, as they will require you to improve the insulation of your roof, wall or floor if it is to be replaced or renovated.

This means building work such as the replacement of external render or tile hanging to a wall, extensive re-plastering internally or having new roof tiles or slates may require extra insulation to be added at the same time. The Government calls this work the alteration of a 'Thermal Element'.

Complying with the new rules

If you are having work done to a 'Thermal Element' such as new roof tiles, a new brick skin to a wall or re-rendering or re-plastering, you must now get Building Regulation Approval by submitting a Building Regulation Application to the Local Authority.

How to comply

In most cases this is a matter of completing a 'Building Notice Form'. The form can be downloaded or requested by post by ringing Building Control on 0161 912 3015. This must be submitted with the appropriate fee and must give details of the work to be undertaken and the proposed improvements to the insulation of the thermal element being worked on.

You must notify Building Control two days before starting work and when the work is complete. A Building Control Officer will visit your property to assess whether the work will comply and will advise you if any further inspections will be necessary. It is important to note that the Building Control Officer is not supervising the building work and is not responsible for ensuring that the work is carried competently. He/She will inform you or your builder of any contraventions of the building regulations noted at the time of inspection and it will be your responsibility to make sure that the work is carried out correctly.

Why is getting approval important

It is a legal requirement to obtain Building Regulation Approval for relevant building work. More detailed information is available in the Building Regulations Approval leaflet, which can also be downloaded from the link on the Forms and Information page.

Evidence that you have obtained approval will be required when you come to sell your house and will form part of the Home Information Pack to be introduced in 2007.

By complying with the new rules you will reduce your energy costs and contribute effectively to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions that are damaging the environment.

Examples of works that require the submission of a building regulation application:

  • Renewal of pitched or flat roof coverings - e.g. re-tiling, re-slating or re-felting of roofs
  • Renewal or replacement of ceilings under a roof space or flat roof (with or without the renewal of the supporting structure)
  • Renewal of cladding to external walls or dormer cheeks

  • Renewal of a finish or cladding to an external wall area or elevation (render or other cladding) or applying a finish or cladding for the first time

  • Re-building an external wall including the outer leaf of brickwork or stonework only

  • Renewal of internal wall plaster or plasterboard to an external wall or where plaster or plasterboard is being applied for the first time e.g. re-plastering or dry lining of walls

  • Renovation or replacement of a solid or suspended floor, involving the replacement of a screed or a timber floor deck

How much insulation should be provided

The regulations expect the cost of improving the insulation of thermal elements to be recovered within 15 years through reduced energy costs.

If the cost of upgrading the insulation to modern standards cannot be saved within 15 years or less or they are not technically feasible, the element should be upgraded to the best standard possible at a cost that can be recovered within 15 years.

How do I calculate the cost

In some cases it may be possible to agree what is reasonable with the Building Control Officer. However for more complicated situations you may need to employ a suitably qualified person to advise of technical and economic infeasibility.

Building Control may ask you to provide this information depending on the circumstances.

Note - Replacing windows / roof lights and doors that are more than 50% glazed also require a formal building regulation application unless they are installed by a company registered with either:

Emergency repairs

In certain situations it may be necessary to carry out emergency repairs to thermal elements. For example if your roof is damaged in a storm.

If this situation arises a Building Notice must be submitted at the earliest opportunity after commencement; please note that repairs must comply with the new regulations.

Changing the energy status of a building

Changing the energy status of a building may also require upgrading of the insulation. This can occur when converting a previously unheated or cooled space into one that is heated, for example the conversion of a domestic garage into a living space. When such a change occurs, the existing envelope of the building should be upgraded to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the space.