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'Mad panic' to push through Part L regs

MATERIALS - Final approved documents delayed by 'some silliness' as deadline approaches

NEW ENERGY efficiency regulations could be delayed unless the Government tables critical legislation to allow ministers to introduce the rules.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has until tomorrow (March 10) to lay the statutory instrument ? documentation that allows ministers to push through law without a full Parliamentary debate ? supporting the latest version of Part L of the building regulations.

If the Government fails to meet tomorrow's deadline the April 6 implementation date for the revised part L will be missed.

The Government must also table the final approved documents alongside the statutory instrument. But despite the industry's best efforts there are outstanding issues that must be faced by contractors and manufacturers before the regulations are introduced.

With just a month before Part L is due to come into force, designers, contractors and manufacturers are struggling along without any final approved documents. Standard assessment procedures for working out compliance and approved methods of construction are still under development.

Manufacturers, designers and contractors are working furiously behind the scenes to get the regulations implemented on time but insiders say the relationship between the industry and the Government is turning increasingly sour.

One source said: 'There is some silliness going on, with the Government lawyers refusing to reference second-tier documents in the final approved document. The problem is that, although it has taken years to develop the regulations, they are being rushed through at the final hurdle.' Steering groups handed the final version of the document to the Government last week so the ODPM could consider the changes and have seven days to complete the statutory instrument process.

But John Tebbit, industry affairs director at the Construction Products Association, said: 'There was a bit of a mad panic to get everything ironed out. There were no final documents, no approved assessment programmes, detailed calculation tools and model designs were still under development. It is frustrating that a complicated review that has taken so long could contain mistakes because of being rushed in the final stages.'