Government Consultation Launched for Zero Carbon Standards Exemptions

17th November 2014

This week small construction businesses could find themselves in a significant position as the UK government launched a consultation document, Next Steps to Zero Carbon Homes, is based on a study from the NHBC Foundation regarding the possibility of exemptions from zero carbon standards.

The proposal includes the idea that small firms or sites could be able to offset carbon saving measures costs that inevitably arise during the construction of new homes. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are looking for input from the house-building sector of the industry about how such measures could be implemented and determined, including company and development sizes.

This is a unique opportunity for individuals and small contractors to have their say and play an important role in what could become industry legislation. The proposal will remain open until 7th January 2015.

The NHBC claimed last year that the number of small construction businesses fell by 50% during the period of 2007-2013.

This follows the proposed policy that from 2016 all new homes constructed in the UK must conform to a zero carbon standard. What this means in simple terms is that no carbon emissions should be generated from the heating or lighting systems throughout the build.

The government have launched the consultation as they accept that ‘it is not always technically feasible or economically viable to eliminate all carbon emissions by using on-site measures’ and is investigating ways to target the exemption at smaller firms, while ensuring that larger sites cannot be broken down into smaller sections in order to take advantage of the possible exemptions.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders said, "The FMB is supportive of the zero carbon objective but we are concerned about the disproportionate cost implications for smaller house-builders. The Allowable Solutions element of zero carbon will be added in 2016 and could result in smaller building firms paying out an additional £2,000 for every single detached home. It is therefore absolutely right that adjustments are made to ensure small local builders can build as many new homes as possible at a time when we are building only half the number of new homes required to meet demand. An exemption from Allowable Solutions will have no impact on the quality or energy efficiency standards of the new homes being built. These homes will still be built to the same energy performance standards as all other new homes but will avoid impeding the delivery of new homes by SME house-builders."

To take part in the consultation please click here.

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