3 Minute Read
April 12, 2022
UK contractors face a number of compliance challenges when they build. Failure to comply with any rules and regulations could mean fines and costly re-work. One of these is Part L, otherwise known as Document L. Part L has been introduced with the aim to increase the conservation of fuel and power in order to help the government edge closer towards net zero.
Part L, or Document L, is an amended building standard that decrees all new dwellings should be built with the aim to increase conservation of fuel and power. The standard is divided into part L1A, which covers new builds, and part L1B, which covers renovations to existing buildings.
This coincides with new building regulations that came into effect June 15th 2022. Although building regulations are a legal requirement and are therefore mandatory, Approved Documents (such as Document L) are suggestions of how to enforce a new building regulation.
In this case, in December 2021, the government announced new goals of 30% less CO2 than current standards and a 27% reduction of emissions as part of their ambition to achieve net zero. The new regulations have also been designed to preemptively prepare for the 2025 Building Standards, so there will be no need for retrofitting on new builds between 2022-2025.
Part L covers all newly-built dwellings, as well as refurbishment to existing buildings. However, retrofits will be done on a case-by-case basis, as many older buildings may require more ventilation than a modern building to ensure safe air circulation.
The document of changes is thorough and contains lots of requirements for information, such as supply chain sourcing and proof of energy efficiency through complex calculations. However, for the purpose of this piece, we will talk about the need for photographic evidence in Part L. As outlined in the new changes, photographic evidence must be provided throughout a project’s lifecycle. These photographs must also be able to be traced to a project and particular site location.
It's live now, as of June 15th 2022, but there are leniencies depending on which category your project or build falls under. If plans were submitted and building began before June 15 2022, you won't need to adhere to the new regulations. However, if your plans were submitted and/or building work began AFTER June 15th 2022, your build will need to adhere to new Part L regulations.
The government has also set a hard deadline for compliance of June 15 2023, with hope this gives enough time for industry to become compliant, as well as cause minimal disruption to existing submissions and projects.
Prosecution can be sought for two years after the building work has been completed, and it will usually sit with the responsible party for the build. Those responsible for building work include agents, designers, builders, installers and the building owner.
The local council building control team have the power to pull down or demand an alteration to the building in question. This will also be accompanied by an unlimited fine under sections 35 and 35A of the Building Act 1984.
Building Regulations UK Part L (BRUKL) compliance reports and certificates are required to prove they have been designed and comply with UK building regulations. These need to be given to the building control body as well as the building owner. There should be both the design stage report, highlighting intended calculations and specifications, and the as-built report. Photographic evidencing of the components installed should be included in the BRUKL as-built report, as well as up-to-date product specification and calculation actuals.
High-resolution images must be taken of each detail within a plot, at least one photo per detail, per plot. Where the detail is not clear from the initial photo, there must be additional close ups taken to clarify the detail.
These photographs must be taken nearing completion of each stage of the project so building control can then audit before that stage is closed out. This is usually done by working with a local authority building control department or approved inspector who can confirm whether work has been done in line with current building regulations. This photographic evidence can also be used on projects to ensure the correct products have been installed everywhere. Ben Wallbank, BIM strategy and partnerships manager at Trimble Viewpoint, said there is an opportunity to look past the “raft of requirements” and a chance to create better quality, more energy-efficient buildings for customers.
As the grace period comes to an end, the relationships that contractors have with building control, SAP accessors and warranty providers are critical to form as a “hand-holding” process.
Peter Roberts, head of quality at Berkeley Homes, joined Trimble Viewpoint, Ramboll Buildings, and Building Magazine on a webinar outlining the Part L changes. He demonstrated how Berkeley had readied itself for the Part L changes, and offered advice to those who are going through photo evidencing for the first time.
When a project has started on-site, it is the responsibility of the main contractors and installers to ensure that photographic evidence is being collected as the build progresses.
“For the larger trades, they will often have a quality manager,” Roberts said. “For the smaller contractors, it’s often the supervisor that’s taking the photographs. That then gets offered to the site management team to review and sign off that the records are being captured appropriately.”
And the most important thing, Roberts said, is using a connected construction application such as Trimble Viewpoint’s Field View solution to capture this vital information. “We’ve got that record in perpetuity on the cloud, that we can always refer back to if we need to,” Roberts said.
Berkeley Homes has been photo evidencing on its projects for several years. The company’s experience means it is well-prepared for the new regulations. Here are Roberts’ 3 top tips when photo evidencing:
Berkeley took the Appendix B7 and looked at how it could apply this to its developments and assessments. The company recognised that its current processes needed to be much more detailed and streamlined than how they were at that moment. Construction businesses are still learning what building control is looking for. For Berkeley, working with building control throughout the process is incredibly important to ensure that what the company is doing is right from the start.
The philosophy behind Part L is that anyone should be able to pick up a tablet, go to the site location and still be able to undertake an inspection with no prior knowledge of the details. Using specific questions that need to be answered by the inspector, as well as clear, accessible information means that the inspections can be completed quickly and thoroughly.
Create a benchmark of acceptable photographs and evidencing through collaborating with subcontractors, SAP accessors, building control and warranty provider. This means that quality and compliance can become an easily repeatable process.
When it comes to the solutions contractors use to track workflows and manage projects, Trimble Viewpoint has been helping UK contractors drive more efficiency and build better projects for more than 40 years. Our Field View mobile solution, for instance, is used on thousands of construction jobsites worldwide.
To understand how Field View can help, let’s firstly discuss what it does. Field View is a tablet and mobile-based field tool for companies to digitise snagging and paper forms.
Any form that you currently use in a paper format, from hot works permit to site inductions, Field View can replicate and enhance. It’s worth noting that these capabilities come with Field View out of the box, so there’s no need to bolt on extra modules to begin conforming to Part L changes.
Create custom, or select from pre-configured forms within Field View to capture and share data live on-site—without going back to the office. Attach and markup photos, electronic signature signoff, and the ability to access supporting documentation are but a few of the form features available.
Create custom tasks with photographic evidence in real-time and mark the exact location. Improve communication and accountability by assigning tasks to teams and subcontractors, then easily track to close with complete visibility at every step.
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