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Revised Building Regulations 2022 – What is Part O?

Revised Building Regulations 2022 – What is Part O?
29 June 2022 | Updated 21 July 2022
 

A new UK building regulation came into effect on 15 June 2022, which deals with the growing issue of buildings being designed and constructed without due consideration to the building’s potential internal temperature.

 

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In contrast to many other updates to the Building Regulations, Part O will be applied retrospectively, regardless of when a planning application was submitted or approved, if projects have not actually started construction before 15 June 2023 they will be required to comply with Part O. This 12-month transition period allows for designers and developers to make changes to planned projects to ensure they comply before their construction commences.

Overheating of buildings is not a new issue. Previously, it has been partially addressed with assessment tools and guidance by various bodies, but for the first time, the UK government, in the form of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has firmly addressed the issue.

 

The Issue of Poor Ventilation Design

 

As Darren Woolf, Head of Building Physics at Wirth Research explains, thermal mass is not talked about enough in construction. A good thermal mass design strategy can help buildings to stay cool during the summer months and keep a good balance on space heating requirements:

“Unfortunately, poor ventilation design is massively prevalent as a result of the energy-saving mindset. We need to design homes in consideration of all elements of health and wellbeing, not just keeping cool. We need to be much better at designing for ventilation and overheating, as well as indoor air quality and any associated risks.”

The management of solar gains in buildings is to be enforced under the revised Building Regulations 2022, specifically the new Part O.

 

What is the New Part O Building Regulation?

 

Approved Document O covers the overheating mitigation requirements of the building regulations; designing and constructing buildings to limit unwanted solar gains in summer and providing an adequate means of removing excess heat from the indoor environment.

It applies to all residential and institutional dwellings, including care facilities and student accommodation, anywhere you would stay overnight (but excluding hotels), ranging from a single-storey house to a high-rise apartment block.

Since December 2021 when Part O was released, Smartlouvre has been gathering feedback from those affected including house builders and housing associations. They have written a whitepaper to respond to this feedback, with input from designers, building physicists, simulation experts and members of CIBSE.

They have also been in contact with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ensure what they create is a rounded document, which de-mystifies the regulation and provides unbiased advice, whilst giving thought-provoking comment as to how we in the construction sector can design in consideration of user comfort and health as a primary consideration.

Picture: a photograph of some houses from above. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 29 June 2022

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