Insulating our customers from the challenges of compliance
We recently joined forces with Knauf Insulation for an interesting roundtable discussion to talk through the issues that are affecting housebuilders now that the transition period for Part L has ended.
The housebuilding sector is undergoing a period of great change, following the uplift to Part L of the Building Regulations governing the ‘conservation of fuel and power’ which came into effect in June 2023.
With this in mind, we recently joined forces with Knauf Insulation for an interesting roundtable discussion to talk through the issues that are affecting housebuilders now that the transition period for Part L has ended. We wanted to take the time to understand what we as distributors and manufacturers can do to help housebuilders as they navigate new regulations and energy-efficiency targets.
You can watch the full video discussion at your leisure but in the meantime, here’s just some of the takeaways from our discussion.
1. Competency is key to Part L compliance
Compliance goes hand in hand with competence. It’s all about education and training to ensure specifiers are making informed product decisions - specifying the right product for the project, taking into consideration performance attributes and test results.
It’s crucial to understand what different tests and certifications mean when comparing similar products - simply having a certification doesn’t tell the whole story nor does it mean that a particular product will suit every house. Not all alternative products are equal and even those with seemingly identical standards and certifications can have subtle differences.
2. Mind the gap!
The performance gap is the difference between the level of energy efficiency a building was designed to achieve versus its actual energy efficiency in practice. Compliance to Part L is reliant on minimising any such discrepancy.
This gap can be widened if the wrong insulation is installed, for example, when using a similar alternative product that doesn’t have precisely the same qualities as that originally specified, or it may come down to small installation errors on site. As part of the new regulations, housebuilders are now required to submit photographic evidence of the completed installation to ensure the correct insulation has been installed accurately as a way to narrow this gap.
3. Collaborate to innovate
We’ve seen time and time again that the closer the supply chain collaboration the better the project outcome, especially if that collaboration begins from an early stage with product manufacturers, architects, installers, and distributors all working together.
Housebuilders need to get involved with manufacturers at the design stage to understand how different products will best meet current and anticipated future regulations. Getting involved at an early stage gives housebuilders scope to make any design changes, for example, increasing the width of a cavity wall, without delaying the project further down the line or compromising on product choice.
4. Beyond Part L
With the proposed Future Homes Standard on the horizon, housebuilders may have differing views. There are those who are looking for ways to meet the latest regulations with minimal modifications to the specification and keeping the overall house design the same. At the same time there are those looking past Part L and imagining homes of the future, bringing more renewable energy into place and going further than current regulations require. Knauf Insulation and CCF are working to meet both approaches.
It's said that we’re going through 30 years of regulation changes in a fraction of that time. Our role is to help the industry through that and that is precisely what we’re doing!
Our part in delivering solutions for Part L
Investing in our technical expertise
As a building materials distributor, we are in the centre of the supply chain, in contact with both main and subcontractors, and with close ties to manufacturers like Knauf Insulation. We make it our business to keep up to date and invest in training for colleagues directly from our manufacturer supply partners so we can advise customers and make sure they choose the right product for the job.
Knauf Insulation also supports housebuilders with a range of detailed technical documents, installation guidance, specification and U-value calculations as well as in person training. The main thing the team aims to promote is the why - ensuring housebuilders understand why things need to be done a certain way and the impact it will have on a building.
A collaborative approach
As a distributor, our role is to compare true like-for-like products from different manufacturers, understanding the different criteria or performance metrics being used and offering our customers clear and impartial advice. We play a central role in connecting the supply chain which is why we’ve invested in our own competency frameworks and we work with different suppliers as experts in their field. It’s vital that as an industry we continue to share best practice and case studies allows us to replicate when something has worked well to benefit everyone.
Manufacturers also have a vital role to play in ensuring they can offer the products that are needed, both in terms of compliance to Part L and availability. Knauf Insulation is committed to investing in product innovation and testing, to offer a wider range of Part L compliant solutions.
Watch the full video here for a wider view on Part L – and don’t forget, if you have any questions we are here to help and support you.