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Posted By: pauluk Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/07/05 04:41 PM
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).]
UK Crown property, ( a euphamism for Government owned, i.e. not the Queen's private property ), is also not insured, nor is it particulary well protected. When Windsor Castle caught fire in 1992, it transpired that there were no smoke alarms, fire doors or sprinklers. The whole place was stuffed to the attics with priceless public and privately owned works of art, including works by Leonardo da Vinci. The whole Brunswick Tower was destroyed, along with other buildings and the 5 year renovation cost £40 million. The Queen graciously paid £28 million out of her own purse, even though this is a Government building. The point is, why bother to get insurance when the taxpayer or the monarch will foot the bill? The sooner the morons in charge are forced to do what the rest of us accept as responsible actions, the better.
The fire BTY was started by a spotlight igniting some curtains. As to the rest of the proposals, I predict that buildings which could have been renovated or extended will be demolished as 'unviable'. Thus destroying the very energy efficiencies the proposals aim for.
Posted By: gideonr Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/07/05 07:47 PM
I can understand some the intentions:

Many buildings don't even have basic loft insulation. Especially (ex-) council houses.

Double glazing units should be fitted from the inside only, not easily removed from the outside.

I suspect a lot of this is down to enforcement. Their view must be that if you have the money to extend then you must have the money to bring the existing up to good standard. They will have the usual exclusions for listed buildings, etc., which brings us nicely to the Value Added Tax on repair versus new build scandal. Is that what you are referring to?

Having worked for central government, in buildings that didn't require local planning permission or building control, I am well aware of that issue. It just seemed like all the political types were fighting a jurisdiction turf war.
My reactions to these proposals;-

First, crime: Petty criminals are always one step ahead of us and dumb politicians. Lots of folks have made their houses more secure with good locks, secure windows and some with alarms. Result- the crooks nick your car, lawnmower, plants and anything else left outside, or come in through the roof! The real solution here is more prisons, very long sentences for recidivists and, dare I say it, a good welt with the birch/towse, but that will never happen so we'll have to put up with high crime levels.
Second, Energy Meters: LOL! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] What?!!! They are expecting logical reactions from people who watch 16 hours of soap operas a week and think 'Sunny D' is orange juice?! Pull my other leg, it plays "I Believe" in stereo!
Third, Ventilation: The UK Building Regulations, and the old Parker-Norris Standards of the 1940s have stipulated reasonable, ( not optimal, that's a gale blowing through the house!) ventilation rates for healthy fresh air, based on openable windows area for habitable rooms, for well over 60 years. Taking (?) that these proposals are for 'forced ventilation' whole house by fans, this is utter stupidity. Just as people blocked up their larder vent-bricks and shut the hit-and-miss flaps on modern windows- they will turn the ruddy fans off and ashyxiate themselves, rather than have a 'draught'!
Fourth, Better Insulation and sealing: = more condensation, T.B. etc. - because the fans will be off!
Fifth, Energy efficient lamps: How will you stop people from reverting to cheap filament bulbs once the LE ones blow?

Net result, no change, except higher taxes, more Control Officers, and half decent buildings knocked down and replaced by tacky 21st century slums, because, as Gideon pointed out, extending/renovating already carries a 17.5% VAT penalty, without the added cost of bringing the whole structure up to spec.

Posted By: djk Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/07/05 11:54 PM
The vent regulations over here often lead to them being intentionally blocked due to that fear of draughts!

They require a vent in the outer wall of every room at ceiling height. Sometimes these are louvers types, sometimes they're a panel with an opening at top. These can be partially painted / papered over and are less visible.

They're almost always replaced with hit and miss slid to open/close louvers.

There's also a requirement for vents under the floors (radon / other nasty gas accumulation prevention measures)

Some places also have vents BETWEEN the rooms and the hallways to allow for maximum circulation! Without exception those are blocked up!

There's a major risk though that you can just cut off all the oxygen to your home and end up with sick building syndrome if you take some of those environmentally friendly measure too far.

They SHOULD require a centralised ventalation system that contains a heat-exchanger. Ventaxia do a nice one. You can vent the house really effectively and still retain the heat.

[Linked Image from]
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/08/05 08:23 AM
Thanks for posting this thread.
It sounds like the situation we had here 3-4 years ago.
With regards to Part L:
Increased levels of insulation, which may well affect cable selection.
Remember that GenCalc program that I tendered to you guys not that long ago?, that will calculate the derating required to comply under a situation of Fibreglass insulation.
Provision of energy meters to facilitate the understanding of energy consumption and to thereby encourage energy saving.
So will this mean the installation of things like the "Smart-Meter" like I did link to a while back, will be used?
Who exactly is going to pay for that?.
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.
To my experience, the only lighting sources that fit that bill are Fluorescent, Metal-Halide and Sodium Lamps, which sort of goes against this:
Provision of power factor correction if appropriate.
Most houses, as far as I'm aware have a near on Unity PF anyway, most of the largest loads are resistive (Oven, Dryer, etc).
If you like to run all of your lights all day, all the time and you have a lot of them, by all means, get PF Correction, you'll need it!. [Linked Image]
As a note I have no worries at all with the Part M requirements, I have a friend of mine that keeps complaining to me (he is in a chair after he fell from a falling pole, that too few things are done for people in wheelchairs.
this is suggesting that standards might be applied retrospectively to buildings.
That in itself would be blatantly un-fair.
Common Law states: That a law applied in retro-spect, where it does harm people, and in-fact does not help them, shall not be called a law at all.
That was from 1896, I can give a reference if it is required.
We all heard about the fire at B/Ham Palace, I just cannot believe at all that this sort of thing would go un-insured and I agree with your comments of "let the Tax-payer foot the bill".
While a certain amount of the damage would have been water and smoke damage, why on earth were these treasures not stored in somewhere like the National Archives building?.
More secure and a better chance of surviving a fire.

{Message edited to fix a spelling error}

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 07-08-2005).]
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/08/05 08:45 AM
I hate to go off on a tangent here guys, but.
(Paul, if you want to delete this it's no worries to me).
I'm a Firearms Owner and I have 5 Rifles and 2 Shot-guns.
I welded up my own Gun Enclosure about 12 years ago, out of 10mm Steel plate.
It has 3x Electric Shot-Bolts holding it closed, if the supply fails, it holds shut.
You have to have 2 people to open the thing because of the distance between the switches.
(one is inside the house, the other is in the shed where the cabinet is)
But, the Police have been around to inspect this set-up and I have had nothing but good words for my inventive-ness(sp?).
I even installed a system for them.
However, the Local Council, has told me that they want my Gun Cabinet removed, because it could entice thieves.
Personally, I'll pay you, if you can open my Gun-Safe, I'll give you NZ$2000, in the hand.
Oddly enough none of the Council Officers have been able to open it either.
With the door shut, you wouldnt even know the thing is there.
It's about high time that councils stuck to rubbish collection and other simple such things.
Trumpy, the da Vinci's are part of the Queen's private collection, not state owned. She wants stuff accessible so we can all enjoy, which is a risk, but well worth it don't you think, rather than locking stuff in a vault? Windsor Castle is now approaching 1000 years old! and is only 20 miles out of London BTW, and well worth the effort for a visit, set as it is overlooking a beautiful little town on the Thames, just a walk up the road from Eton College. I used to be able to see it out of my bedroom window when I lived in Cippenham.
Posted By: pauluk Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/08/05 05:21 PM
Those ventilation requirements struck me as silly too. Energy conservation is one thing,but almost hermetically sealing our homes is just ridiculous, especially when you then need to specify forced ventilation to compensate! [Linked Image]

Off on a tangent slightly, but about 15 years ago I did a full install for an apartment which was constructed in the space of an old storage warehouse behind a High St. shop. By necessity, the bathroom had no windows, so it needed an exhaust fan.

The local building inspector's notes for the project insisted that we should install the time-delay type and that the overrun should be set to a minimum of 15 minutes!
I tried to point out that having the fan run for that long every time somebody just popped in there for a minute to.... well, you know.... was rather excessive, especially at night when the fan would then be quite audible in the adjoining bedroom.

The reply was that it was necessary for when the shower or bathtub were used. Well, it seemed to me (and still does) that 15 minutes is still excessive. As there was no natural light in the room, the fan would be running with the light the whole time somebody was in there. And when you get out of the tub, it takes a while to get dried and dressed, so the fan will still be running then to clear the air.
In the end, the 15-minute requirement was pretty daft anyway, as all anybody would have to do is take the cover off the fan and turn the timer adjustment down to something more practical. In fact that's exactly what happened long before the occupier even moved in -- I think I left it set at about 2 minutes. If it had been entirely up to me, I would have wired the fan on a completely separate switch. (And I'm still doubtful as to whether the inspector had any legal basis for trying to apply this stipulation anyway.)

But as has already been mentioned, this workaround of the rules is exactly what will happen. Vents will be blocked, lamps will be replaced, and so on.

Your ingenious gun locker sounds good! Of course, the gun laws in Britain are absolutely draconian nowadays, but I do have a neighbor who legitimately owns a shotgun (he's had a permit for one for decades, having been involved in farming and woodland management). As far as I can gather, the only requirements are that the gun and ammo are kept in a locked steel cabinet. He has a locker inside a wardrobe with a simple padlock on the door.

It's about high time that councils stuck to rubbish collection and other simple such things.
They can't even get that right here. In fact my local district council doesn't even do the refuse collection anymore. They contract it out to private agencies.
Contrast with gun laws here. A mate has converted a swamp on his land to a nice little carp lake with a dam. As the digger was working, we noticed a sweet-looking little animal, looking a bit like an otter, pottering about in the rising water. Turned out to be a rangondin, alias a N. American musk-rat, on the run from a fur farm. She invited the neighborhood escape committee to join her and a few weeks later Ron fell into an enormous hole when the bank collapsed! These varmints only eat grass, tunnel all summer like navvies undermining the banks, are practically impossible to trap, and their only enemies are the French, intent on a nice fricasee de rangondin for lunch! So Ron went up to town and bought a carbine, telescopic sights and 100 rounds of 22 cal. long-rifle ammo. Eventuallly, a laconic Gendarme called and asked if Ron wouldn't mind awfully popping into the Gendarmerie, when he had a minute, to fill in a form!
Posted By: pauluk Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/08/05 11:02 PM
Yeah, something of a contrast. Over here in paranoia-land he'd have been in jail faster than the bullet left the muzzle of the gun.

Were you still here when the last round of gun laws were passed?
Those effectively made it impossible even for registered members of shooting clubs to legally retain a pistol, even under lock and key. Apparently rather than hand over their guns to the police quite a few people took them over to France and now take trips over the Channel to go target shooting.
I was still resident UK when the post-Dunblane legislation was passed. While having total sympathy for the families of all those murdered children, this was in retrospect a knee-jerk reaction law. Like many shooters, I sadly said goodbye to my guns. The perpetrator was of course a registered and certificated gun-holder, but the police failed to check him out properly, he had previous violence and instability records. Well, what's done is done, but the fact is gun-crime in the UK has flourished in the years since Dunblane. Respectable shooters are denied their bit of sport, while the real crooks pot themselves, the public and our largely unarmed constabulary with seeming impunity, using illegal weapons. Let's face it, as a gangster, you were going to register your weapons? On the economic side, we never got a fraction of the real value of our guns, which were in large part accurate target pieces, not Saturday Night Specials drilled out from replicas. A friend is still waiting for money for a good pistol- the compensation bureau is, as usual with Government, a total bloody shambles, run by cretins.

Rant over! [Linked Image]

I've heard that many serious shooters do indeed use French gun club facilities. As to myself, I shan't start again.
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/12/05 10:24 AM
Sorry to actually thread-jack you. [Linked Image]
I have very strong views on firearms ownership.
It is one thing that has been hard fought for and won here.
However, I would like this thread to get back onto topic.
I think to a degree Paul, there will be those that will like the new regulations (ie: those that made them), some that will follow them (ie: mainly out of fear) and the rest of them like most people (ie: couldn't give a monkey's), that will not recognise them at all.
People don't like being told what to do, especially when they pay them people to work out "Solutions" for them.
I'm working on a paper for the Energy Safety Service here, which I'll go into in another thread.
But, it seems to be only the timid people that get away with most things, anyone that questions anything, surely has to be suspect.
BTW Paul, you've got far too many computers at your house, I'm sure Homeland Security would like to know about them. [Linked Image]
Apparently Osama uses XP so you are pretty safe.
I'd better back my files up. [Linked Image]
Posted By: pauluk Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/12/05 06:24 PM
Yeah, we have digressed a little, but for the record I believe we should have an equivalent of the Second Amendment here. Anyway, to get back on track....


* Provision of energy meters to facilitate the understanding of energy consumption and to thereby encourage energy saving.
I'm not quite sure I understand what is being proposed here. We already have such a meter in our homes which registers that total amount of energy consumed.

Are they proposing that we install individual meters for specific appliances and/or circuits? [Linked Image]
The 'meter appliances to educate' idea is a typical crock of twaddle from government- you cannot educate pork! Here's some typical behaviour/remarks of friends, neighbours and relatives.
'A' absolutely refuses to recycle a thing-"Can't be bothered, it all goes in the tip anyway." This person will take the car for a 50 yard trip to the local shop. I seriously doubt she has ever moved more than 20 yards in one go under her own steam since leaving school.
'B' uses her washing machine continuously- 4 or 5 washes a day, often with little more than a pair of socks. "I like to keep on top of the washing." When I mooted our idea of a timer to make use of off-peak rates, I got "Oh, that's too complicated for me."
Often her drier is running on a nice "drying day", forcing my wife to bite her tongue!
'C' opens the door (honestly!) if it's "too hot in here" , with the central heating full on, because "Hubby feels the cold." 'Hubby' is a self-centered, idle, useless twerp, but you can't pick your kith!
'D' has a huge garden, but burns all his garden refuse, and uses energy-burning chemical fertilisers. A compost heap? "No, they attract the vermin." 'Vermin' includes sparrows, butterflies, field voles etc.
'E' controls the slightest sign of rodents, insects, worms, weeds, moss etc. with poisons, pellets and sprays. When I pointed out the dangers to wildlife I got "Well, why are they allowed to sell it then?"
'F' Almost fainted with shock when I showed him a (French) common salamander, a beautiful harmless black and orange amphibian, not venomous and with no teeth, (they swallow by contracting their eyeballs). "I'll have to get some slug pellets if we've got those in our garden!"
This guy's father was a farmer, no wonder the songthrushes have all gone.
'G' has a 36W fluorescent tube burning 24/24 in his garage because he thinks it's "cheaper than turning it on and off".
This is a common belief. I've had several goes at him over this, (he's my son!}

The idea that any of the above, ( and they are pretty typical ), would change their energy usage/ environmentally destructive behaviour because of a display on an appliance or 'education' just boggles the mind.

Posted By: Trumpy Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/16/05 07:23 AM
What will happen is the fact that the PoCo will come around and install a CT-like device to the Phase conductor of your Meter Box.
From there it will monitor the usage of current fed into your house as you use it.
What you will have on the inside of your house is a small interface unit that displays your current usage.
It will sound an alarm when usage gets above a pre-determined level.
Purely and simply, just that.
You determine the level and the controller just tells you that you have broken it.
Posted By: pauluk Re: Proposed changes to UK Building Regs. - 07/16/05 11:57 AM
I guess that could be what they're proposing, although it seems like a typical government attempt to be seen to be doing something, rather than actually accomplishing anything useful.

Mind you, as Alan will confirm, France has had an even more effective system of this sort for years. They just have ridiculously low ratings for supplies so that so that as soon as British visitors try to plug in their big 3kW electric kettle the main breaker trips! [Linked Image]

Does anyone remember the thread from a while ago about the power limiters for some rural electrification schemes in Africa? I've done a quick search but can't find it. The utilities are giving flat-rate service with power restrictors on the supply limiting current to very low values, sometimes as little as 1 ampere.

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-16-2005).]
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