Part L delay causing ‘confusion and frustration’

Lighting industry figures have voiced concern over the delay to the publication of the new Building Regulations, and the impact it is having on manufacturers.

Following a consultation last year, the revised version of Part L of the regulations – the part focusing on energy efficiency – is expected to contain new requirements for lighting, and to incorporate the new Leni metric for gauging efficiency. But three months after the new rules were supposed to come into force, they have still not even been published.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) postponed its original April implementation deadline to October, but with Parliament now in recess until September, it is increasingly unlikely that that date can be met, and there are fears that the regulations may not come into force until next year. When asked by Lux, DCLG simply said the regulations would be published ‘in due course’.

It is believed that the rules have been held up by concerns that, for domestic buildings, the burden of compliance will be placed on industry, but the benefits will be reaped by homeowners.

In the meantime, companies whose products and lighting schemes will have to adhere to the new regulations complain that they are flying blind.

Peter Hunt, joint CEO of the Lighting Industry Association (LIA), said: ‘The LIA has put in a great deal of effort to support the work of DCLG in developing the Part L revision and the continued delay in its publication causes confusion and frustration amongst members. We continue to ask for clarification but to date have not received an answer.’

The LIA has sought to help manufacturers by publishing a guide to the revised Part L, based on the draft that was published last year. But there is no certainty as to which elements will remain or be amended in the final version.

Hywel Davies, technical director of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (Cibse) said: ‘The delay is causing considerable uncertainty within the whole industry. The supply side, from manufacturers through to constructors and installers, needs to know what is happening to Part L to enable decisions about their products and projects. Clients need an answer so that they can make decision about projects. Given the change of policy over consequential improvements, there is no willingness to make any commitments until the Part L decisions are formally made and the guidance is available. This is delaying projects and holding back growth’, he said.

Brendan Keely, secretary of the Society of Light and Lighting, said lighting manufacturers and designers need as much prior warning as possible to deal with the new regulations. ‘They’ll need time to understand the new requirements before being able to design fittings to comply,’ he said.

The new Building Regulations will apply to England, with other parts of the UK producing their own regulations.

Photo: Chris Guy (via Flickr)