Evidencing Part L Compliance through digital processes – Mortgage Finance Gazette

Evidencing Part L Compliance through digital processes – Mortgage Finance Gazette

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When the uplifted Part L of Building Regulation 40 came into effect on 25 June 2022, housebuilders who had registered their proposed developments before this date had 12 months of breathing space before they had to comply with the new standard, as long as the project had started. However, with only four months to go before Part L is enforced, many are still unsure how to go about collating the data and information required to be compliant.

Widely publicised over the past couple of years, Part L is one of 14 in the UK government’s latest building regulations and focuses on energy efficiency in residential properties. It focuses on greater energy efficiency, and that it be achieved with a 31% reduction in carbon emissions, through a fabric first approach to materials used and less operational CO2.

To demonstrate they have undertaken the correct procedures towards achieving Part L, developers need to produce evidence throughout the construction of the building and at handover and completion. A key part of this process is evidencing and auditing building details and thermal elements through mandatory photographic records.

The importance of this task should not be underestimated, as failure to carry out this key compliance component could prove a costly and time-consuming oversight.

Without photographic evidence, no project can be verified as complete. Such failure makes releasing a Building Regulation England Part L (BREL) report and issuing an Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) impossible. In turn, that means the building cannot be inhabited and the developer may have to undertake expensive remedial works to become compliant and for the as-built BREL to be released. In some cases, it may even result in a hefty fine.

Ultimately, photographic evidence gives direct proof that the home is built using materials and technology that meet the expectation and requirements stipulated in Part L. Inspectors now need easy-to-access, accurate visual proof that the work has been done, and it’s no longer acceptable to take the word of the developer at face value.

The majority of developers are well aware of what’s required and many welcome the change, as it forms a part of the sector’s concerted efforts to drive up quality and sustainability. It is also the interim step on the path to being carbon neutral and sustainability targets that will be set out in the Future Homes Standards 2025.

Putting the necessary systems in place is another matter, with most still unsure about how to collate, manage and share this evidence with relevant parties. However, digital technology just might have the answer to ensure the efficient delivery of compliance with Part L’s photographic evidence requirement.

Out-of-the-box applications can help prepare housebuilders for Part L

Out-of-the-box construction management solutions offer a quick and easy way for the developer to set themselves up for the new regulatory landscape. They can be onboarded and operational within a matter of days, and will enable those housebuilders yet to address Part L to start doing so with agility.

Furthermore, significant developments in interoperability mean that these systems can seamlessly assimilate with existing site tools, to ensure a single source of truth across quality management programmes.

With attention to detail at the very heart of the code, these one-stop-shops empower users to take georeferenced and time-stamped photos from any device, with or without a data connection. This, in turn, is linked to a digital repository, allowing visual data to be collected and stored throughout the building stage either on or off site, and submitted to SAP accessors for feedback and approval.

Photographic evidence can then be enhanced with supporting documentation, and traced back to a location and property so accessors know they’re related to the relevant plot under inspection. Crucially it allows the SAP assessor to quickly review evidence and immediately flag if work is not up to the Part L standard, so it can be remediated before the build completes. This saves time, money and energy simultaneously.

Even better, these platforms are completely configurable, providing an efficient and effective way to evidence compliance whilst also being tailored to address future needs of the business on the path to digitisation. And it doesn’t end there. These out-of-box systems are also capable of supporting compliance requirements for other regulations, including the Building Safety Act and Golden Thread, as they are rolled out in the future.

Fundamentally, moving to a dedicated Part L-focused digital solution now will ensure you are ready to hit the ground running in June 2023. It will help make that first leap into a brave new world of digitisation of data and information easier, giving you that essential proof that the products and materials you use are meeting standards and performance targets.

Zutec Group chief marketing officer Maria Hudson

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