What are the recent changes to Building Regulations?

Recent changes to Building Regulations – namely the new Part O document – introduces Overheating and purge ventilation strategies to naturally cool all new dwellings that have more than (approximately) one fifth of glazing to each elevation.

With many of our buildings being beautiful locations, we are often required to capitalise on these beautiful views. Whilst wall-to-wall glass is not always the solution, we do tend to find that large glazed areas are required capitalise on the views. We also always design buildings that have an abundance of natural light.

 So, what does Part O mean for us?

It means that we now have to show the shading and overheating to Cornwall Council Building Control in a specialist report. Being such a new policy, there isn’t currently any ‘industry standard’ software that will enable us to do this. In other words, industry has been rather caught out by this new policy, with many practices unsure of how to proceed.

 What have we done to satisfy regulations?

Here at Arco2 we have been designing our buildings based upon the ‘passivhaus’ principles for many years. We take great care to design buildings with lots of solar shading via large overhangs and brise-soleils. This all helps to prevent overheating. It’s also worth noting that low-energy, super-insulated buildings don’t need any ‘solar gain’ during the summer months. One of our recently completed buildings in Mawgan Porth is a great example of how overhangs can provide solar shading and help eliminate overheating. The overhangs also create outside spaces in which to sit, even when it’s raining. They also allow you to leave the sliding doors open, inviting in the sounds of the ocean whilst keeping the rain out!

 Despite being ahead of the curve, we still needed to develop a package of information to satisfy Building Control. We spent around four weeks doing this, developing a concise, fact-based report that the Council have since approved. This now forms the basis of each submission.

 We’re proud of how readily we have been able to adapt to the new regulations. It’s a great example of how we continue to remain ahead of the curve and at the top of the architectural game here in Cornwall. If you have a project that you’re concerned may be impacted by the new regulations, why not get in touch and see how we can help?