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How will Approved Document S affect developers?

How will Approved Document S affect developers?

The Building Regulations play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and sustainability of construction projects, and they are changing.

The government has brought in changes to Approved Document S (Part S). This is the section that deals with electric vehicle charging, and there are new obligations for developers and builders in it.

What Is Part S?

Part S has been introduced as part of the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It’s all about ensuring that new residential and non-residential buildings, as well as those undergoing significant renovations, are equipped with charging points for electric vehicles.

Charging points are now mandatory for newly built residential buildings and substantial renovations that result in residential use. If the building has associated off-street parking, a charging point must be installed.

If a new non-residential building or a major renovation of a non-residential building includes over ten parking spaces, then charging infrastructure will be required. Part S stipulates that these charging points must have a minimum nominal rated output of 7kW and be fitted with a universal socket so that any electric vehicle can use them.

There are exceptions, though. In partly or wholly covered parking areas where charging points might be a fire hazard or when the cost of charging points exceeds £3,600 each, preparing cable routes alone might be sufficient.

What about non-residentials?

If you’re not building new homes, you should still read the regulations. Document S covers a variety of scenarios, from new residential and non-residential buildings, buildings getting a major face-lift to mixed-use buildings getting some much-needed work.

New builds that are neither residential nor mixed-use will require charging infrastructure if there are over ten parking spaces. Dwellings resulting from a material change of use may require one charging point. Buildings with more than ten parking spaces undergoing major renovation may need one charge point and additional cable routes.

Part M & accessibility

Don’t forget Approved Document M, which addresses access for disabled citizens. This hasn’t been touched, but Part S nudges you to remember your parking spaces should generally meet Part M’s requirements.

Plus, if you’re adding cabling or charge points due to Part S, it’s likely that at least one of them must be accessible.

What does this mean for developers?

Part S has a welcome feature – a clear cost cap of £3,600. This financial buffer helps you understand your financial responsibilities straight off the bat. Read the Part S details on gathering quotes and proving to cost, but if you adhere to procedure, costs should be controllable.

Standard 7kW chargers, as laid out by Part S, have a whole lot more oomph than the ones you plug into your home socket. But they can still be supported by a regular, single-phase power supply.

For large-scale developments, it might be worth thinking about offering faster charging options, like 22kW. This, however, would mean a chat with your Distribution Network Operator about an upgrade to three-phase power if it’s not already in place.

In most cases, off-street chargers are seen as permitted development and don’t require planning permission. While there are some rules to follow, they’re not too cumbersome.

It’s still worth a quick check with your local authority, though, as they may have additional infrastructure requirements beyond the national minimum for successful planning applications.

Communicate early and widely

Effective communication is key among all stakeholders. Developers, architects, contractors, and building control experts should have open conversations with each other and external parties as early as possible. Industry bodies such as the CIC have online advice and training in areas such as charge points, accessibility and government grants.

Everyone wants our homes to be as safe as possible. Building regulations exist for a reason, and these changes will help us achieve our aims for a safer, greener Britain.

Read the full Building Regulations to find out more information.

Buildsafe are one of the UK’s leading specialist brokers of Building Warranties and Construction Insurance. To find out more about us or get a free quote, please visit our contact page.

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