New Build Houses and Building Regulations

A new build property is a domestic or residential house, flat or apartment that is newly constructed and has never been lived in. Any property bought directly from a house builder or developer is classed as a new-build.

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What building regulations apply to new build houses?

Building regulations are a set of standards that are designed to ensure the safety, quality, energy efficiency and sustainability of all new build properties. The applicable building regulations are defined by various building regulation documents in England & Wales and by separate standards in the devolved governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In particular, the building regulations that apply to the energy performance of new buildings are covered under Part L building regulations (England & Wales), Section 6 (Scotland) and Part F1 (Northern Ireland).

Part L building regulations in England & Wales

Part L building regulations (and regional variants) set out requirements for ensuring a building's design, construction and services meet the current standards and minimum levels of efficiency or performance.

To comply with building regulations, building work must meet all relevant requirements and both follow the correct procedures and meet technical performance requirements. Local planning teams and building control officials make sure that any applicable regulations are adhered to on all new build projects.

Part L Volume 1, released in 2021, details the requirements for the conservation of fuel and power in dwellings. It requires that any heat gains and losses from the property are limited as is reasonable and that fixed building services are energy efficient, have effective controls and are commissioned properly. To meet these requirements:

  • Unwanted heat loss from the building fabric must be limited by meeting the minimum standards for U-values of walls, floors, roof, windows and openings.
  • Gaps in insulation must be minimised to reduce heat loss through thermal bypass and create a risk of condensation and mould. This requires the building fabric to be constructed so that the insulation is reasonably continuous across newly built elements.
  • An airtight construction must be used so that heat loss through air infiltration is reduced to the maximum allowed air permeability rate. This requires the building to be tested using an approved air pressure testing method.
  • Hot water systems and heating pipework must be adequately insulated and laid out efficiently to reduce transmission heat losses.
  • Fixed building services and heating systems are sized appropriately using heat loss calculations and meet the minimum efficiency levels set in the standards.

Building regs testing and compliance equipment

Our product portfolio of building performance measurement solutions are used to support the new-build residential sector and check for compliance with building regulations.

Pulse air receiver, controller and compressor

Pulse Air Permeability Testing

A pioneering approach to fabric air permeability measurement that releases a low-pressure pulse of air for realistic and accurate measurement of airtightness of buildings in seconds.

Learn more about Pulse Air Permeability Testing
Heat3D mobile app and FLIR ONE Pro on an iPhone

Heat3D Infrared Thermography

An innovative mobile app that allows you to precisely measure heat flow and U-values of walls using a low-cost, quick and non-invasive method.

Learn more about Heat3D Infrared Thermography

Air pressure testing new build properties

From June 2022, air tightness testing must be carried out in ALL new build houses using an approved air pressure testing method. Previously, housebuilders were only required to test a subset of their new properties to pass compliance.

Pulse is a unique method of air leakage testing which is a fast, efficient, accurate and cost-effective way of complying with the building regulations. It is officially approved under Part L for new-build compliance as well as PAS 2035 for retrofit buildings.

Air pressure compliance testing using Pulse

Identifying air leakage paths in new build homes

During the construction of a new build property, our Leak Checker technology is a great tool that can be used in pre-compliance testing to check for any significant, non-intended air leakage paths.

Leak Checker is a diagnostics fan for identifying air leakage points which can then be rectified prior to a compliance airtightness test being performed thereby creating efficiencies and improving the quality of the build.

Find air leakage paths using Leak Checker

U-values of new build walls

Typically U-values of new build walls, floors and ceilings are calculated using the manufacturer's data relating to the layers and insulation used in the construction. Our U-value measurement tools can be used to accurately measure the actual final U-value of a building once constructed ensuring the building is performing as designed and expected.

Heat3D provides a new and alternative fast-track methodology that can be used to calculate an actual U-value across an entire wall in just one hour through the use of 3D modelling combined with a thermal camera. Usable by national housebuilders at the design stage and by all developers or self-builders as quality assurance following completion and prior to sale.

Infrared U-value measurement using Heat3D

Energy performance rating of new build houses

A new build home needs to comply with all insulation and energy efficiency measures that are tightly controlled by building regulations. This gives a property an anticipated thermal performance based on design values. However, SmartHTC is a unique technology that can measure the true thermal performance of new build houses after construction.

SmartHTC is able to measure what is known as the "performance gap" – the difference between expected thermal performance and actual performance. This may not always be negative – many homes perform better than anticipated but, through accurate measurement, both the occupier and builder will categorically know exactly how well a building performs.

This enables house builders to build high-quality homes which not only meet the building regulations on paper but also ensure occupant satisfaction once the property has been sold to a buyer.

Measured energy performance of new build houses

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