The Independent Review of Building Regulations – What can we expect from the Hackitt Review?

Anna Wesson, INCA Manager

On Tuesday 8 May, INCA was represented at the Build UK Industry Response Group briefing. The Industry Response Group is a panel of Government and Industry experts who have met weekly since the fire at Grenfell Tower to understand the impact of the disaster on the construction industry, and the steps that can be taken to mitigate any issues.

A number of speakers attended the event, including Rob Leach from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Graham Watts from the Construction Industry Council (CIC). However the presentation that will be most interesting to members was given by Andrew Pattison who is part of Dame Judith Hackitt’s team. He is part of the Independent Review of Building Regulations.

It is likely, though unconfirmed, that the Review will be released next week. Andrew explained that we can expect a review that is systemic in its perspective and that reflects the need for every part of the construction ‘system’ to change. We can also, as anticipated, expect a report that is a starting point to effect a culture change in construction, rather than a list of actions or obligations.

The report is likely to advocate a reinvigorated regulator, ensuring more effective regulatory oversight of construction, occupation and maintenance. This, it will be argued, should be supported by a stronger enforcement and sanctions package that supports culture change.

Further to this, the report is likely to point to the need for clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain, for clients, designers, contractors and those involved in a building’s construction through to occupation. The change is needed for residents to be safe and feel safe in their homes.

Dame Judith’s report is likely to contain some further recommendations for the construction industry. These will have significant implications for members.

They include:

  • More demanding competence requirements for those carrying out building works
  • A more robust testing regime with increased traceability
  • Ensuring that those who are responsible for meeting building regulations are clear on the suitability of materials
  • Robust change control mechanisms and information management during design, construction and occupation.

Clearly some of the changes that we can expect from the report can be driven by industry. Others will need legislation that must be written by the Government. The message that we can expect to hear loudly when the Review is published is that wholesale culture change in construction is required. INCA must consider what this means for our members. We’d like to hear your views on this, the future of construction and the external wall insulation industry.

The ECO 3 Consultation – Will there be any surprises?

Mitch Gee, Executive Chairman

Meeting with BEIS – 12 February 2018

The ECO 3 consultation is almost upon us. It is expected to be circulated at the end of February with a six-week consultation period. As soon as it is published we will circulate to members.

INCA is delighted to announce that Richard Mellish, Deputy Director at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will speak at our members’ meeting. It will be held at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham, close to the NEC on 22 March. At this meeting, we would like INCA members to have the opportunity to ask questions, and provide the government with feedback on the consultation. If the timings proceed as expected, members should have a couple of weeks to digest the papers and prepare your questions or comments.

What do we know already?

1. ECO 3 will not contain any CERO, and funding will be targeted at the fuel poor. The eligible pool will be widened to 6.5 million, including those on disability benefits and child benefits under a certain income threshold. Flexibility will be increased to make it easier to combine funding with other forms of funding or capital investment. This will include 50% for infills and 10% allowance for referrals. In addition, BEIS is looking to simplify rules around high rise, which are currently complex.

2. In ECO 3 there will be a solid wall minimum and the size of this will no doubt be a point of contention. There is obviously a budget cost for the deliverance of ECO, and we know that though solid wall is one of the more easily accessible measures in the fuel poor sector, it is also one of the most expensive. The balance of measures will be critical, and the input and views of INCA members is important.

3. BEIS will be trying to drive innovation by introducing an uplift on carbon for new innovations in the sector. This may concentrate the minds of system holders.

4. There will be reference to ECO past 2022 as there is a real desire to iron out the peaks and troughs in the market. A cap will remain on boilers but may be increased if it can be linked with insulation measures.

5. There will be reference to the quality mark to continue to drive up quality of installation.

6. There will be an allowance for carry over but this will also be capped.

Local authorities who have provided a statement of intent to work with utilities to deliver ECO.

If you have any comments you wish to make regarding your views on the direction of ECO, please get in touch.

Developing a Set of Standards for External Wall Insulation

Mitch Gee, Executive Chairman

As part of the INCA strategy to drive up standards in the industry, I recently represented the trade association in a round-table discussion chaired by the BBA. Also at the meeting were representatives from the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology (CWCT), the Solid Wall Guarantee Association, the National Insulation Association, Local Authority Building Control, the British Standards Institute and the Insulation Manufacturers Association.

It was agreed by this group that a set of standards and details will benefit the industry in helping to educate specifiers and building owners about best practice and raise the quality of specifications. This will help to prevent the generation of lowest common denominator specifications driven by cost alone. It was agreed that the initial aim will be to focus on the Retrofit market, with a longer-term objective of addressing new build.

In the meeting, it was agreed that we will initially create a guide for specifiers, building owners and contractors. Of note the greater, long term objective is to produce a British Standard, sponsored by the British Standards Institution (BSI). This could take up to 3 years. BSI has already updated PAS 2030, the certification system for application of energy efficiency measures, and is working towards developing PAS 2035, the design for energy efficient retrofit on domestic homes.

The development of this guidance supports INCA’s position of fully tested and accredited systems, supplied by system designers and applied by approved contractors. The guidance will differentiate between low rise housing and high rise, or more complex buildings. CWCT wishes to promote a cavity on all external wall applications, something which INCA will strongly resist. Despite this, CWCT have produced a highly informative document, ‘Guidance on the actions on non-load-bearing building envelopes’, which provides some excellent reference points. It clearly demonstrates the need for improved standards guidance in external wall insulation and the wider cladding market.

The meeting concluded with the BBA action to produce a draft scope for the group. This will include:

  • Detailing/Interfaces
  • Fire Performance
  • Thermal Performance
  • Maintenance
  • Competency
  • Testing and accreditation
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Building Tolerances

Once this scope has been completed we will circulate to members for your input. If you wish to make comment at this stage, please feel free to do so by contacting us.