The summer edition of the IEE's newsletter "Wiring Matters" contains a piece about proposed amendments to the building regulations.
No changes are being suggested for the now-infamous Part P at the present time, but there are one or two other things which might affect wiring, indirectly.
Part F (Ventilation) will now specify ventilation rates for the whole house, not just certain areas as previously.
Part L (Energy Performance) is mentioned as follows:
* Increased levels of insulation, which may well affect cable selection.
* Reduced and controlled ventilation rates. These will reduce natural ventilation, making the building more air tight and requiring controlled ventilation including the provision of suitable fans.
* Provision of energy meters to facilitate the understanding of energy consumption and to thereby encourage energy saving.
* Provision of more efficient luminaires. Such luminaires should have an efficacy greater than 40 lumens per circuit watt and should be provided in the locations where the most use can be expected.
* Provision of power factor correction if appropriate.
There is a worrying note following this, suggesting that where the cost of an alteration or extension exceeds a certain amount it may become compulsory to update parts of the existing building, including insulation and heating systems.
Part M (Access & Use) is also mentioned as having some amendments relating to accessibility for disabled people.
Tucked away at the end of the article is mention of a bill which was passed last year:
The Bill creates new powers to make Building Regulations under the Building Act 1984 to address sustainability including the environmental impact of materials used. The Bill will also:
* Give new powers to impose crime resistance and security of buildings where there are at present no statutory requirements.
* Give powers to require that in certain circumstances large scale repair and renovation work should comply with the same standards and sustainability in crime resistance as the equivalent new work.
* Bring into the scope of the Building Regulations certain types of buildings that are currently exempted (e.g. Crown buildings).
Again, this is suggesting that standards might be applied retrospectively to buildings.
I would also question why "crime resistance" should be part of the regulations at all. Maybe it's a good idea to fit better locks, install alarms, etc., but I do not feel that this should be mandated. Call me cynical, but it's no secret that in parts of Britain crime is spiraling out of control. This is going to be perceived -- rightly or wrongly -- as trying to shift the responsibility onto home owners.
The last clause I would support entirely though. When I first read in the Building Regs. that, for example, Metropolitan Police buildings are exempt from the rules I found it both odd and maddening.
If we, the people, are expected to abide by the rules, then so should the government.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-07-2005).]