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Part L transition set at just one year

MATERIALS - Government sets unusually short introduction time for energy efficiency regs

CONTRACTORS and designers will have just 12 months to get up to speed on energy efficiency, the Government has announced.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said last week that it would trim the introduction period for the new Part L of the Building Regulations to one year.

Traditionally, three-year long transition periods have been the norm when building regulations have been introduced.

Planning minister Yvette Cooper announced last week that the Government was cutting the transition time back to help maximise the regulations' impact on climate change.

She said: 'Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face.

'That is why, on this occasion, we need the building industry to comply with the new regulations much more rapidly than normal.' The decision means that from April 6 any building work must comply with the revised regulations unless:

Work started before April 6 in accordance with building notice, full plans, initial or amendment notice.

Full plans are not required and a contract is entered into before April 6, provided work starts before October 1.

Full plans have been approved before April 6, 2006, provided work starts before April 1, 2007.

A plans certificate has been given to a local authority before April 6, 2006, provided work star ts before Apr il 1, 2007.

Any building work carried out under the transitional arrangements will be subject to the 2002 part L regulations.

Ms Cooper claimed the move would mean that energy efficiency standards had increased by 40 per cent in just four years and would help cut home owners fuel bills.

But building control officers were disappointed with the decision and claimed they would struggle to implement the regulations. Imtiaz Farookhi, chief executive at National House Building Council, said: 'We support the objectives of the regulation but we are concerned that the decision will lead to a situation that is unworkable in practice.' Mr Farookhi said the NHBC would be seeking talks with other building control bodies to thrash out working practices.