I am puzzled why bespoke houses are built to building regulations.
The regs are there mainly to stop poor quality construction, dangerous electrical and gas installations and to ‘police’ disreputable builders. Part L is to make sure there is at least a nod to energy efficiency.
But if you are looking to design and build a new house or carry out a major refurbishment, you don’t need to follow them to the letter. My argument is – Go beyond!
Even if you don’t agree in principle, if you are planning a project now, you are very likely to have to meet more stringent regulations by the time you get to design approval. So it is a prudent designer who aims to be better than the current regulations and make it easier to meet the next set.
The expectation is ‘zero-carbon’ for all new homes from 2016. That is around 30 months away so how are you going to do that (watch this space)? It will take many of you that long to get through all the design, planning permission etc .
My area of specialism is energy. The energy related features you design in to your property will be there for decades. It makes sense to me (and will save you money) if you go beyond part L of ‘The Building Regulations’. You can halve your energy bill with a few simple changes at the design stage. Sometimes all you need is a change in material choice.
And there is one more reason to go beyond the regulations. As energy costs rise some predict UK gas prices will more than double over the next 10 years. It follows then that a low-energy house will be more a attractive proposition. So you would be future-proofing your home for yourself, your offspring or for when you want to sell it.
Thinking that bit further can only help!
I love to hear about how you build beyond the regulations so send in your comments here!