Set-back for water waste reduction.

Part G postponed

Published:  06 October, 2009

UK: The plumbing industry has reacted with dismay at the last-minute postponement of the changes to Building Regulations Part G.

The revised regulations, due to be introduced on 1 October, have been delayed until April 2010 as a result of EU intervention, though the exact reasons for this intervention remain unclear. The regulations were expected to introduce new legislation to reduce water wastage.

The department for Communities & Local Government (CLG) announced the postponement on 14 September. In a statement, it said: "The department is required to notify the European Commission of the guidance contained in the draft Approved Document G.

"On 3 September we received a 'detailed opinion' from the Commission with a number of comments. This creates a three-month standstill period which prohibits us from introducing the final Approved Document before 2 December 2009.

The Department has therefore had to delay the [Building Regulations] until 6 April 2010, the next common commencement date.

"We are currently considering the comments from the European Commission and working to resolve them as soon as we can."

Clive Dickin, chief executive of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), described the news as "disappointing. APHC and other organisations have made extensive efforts to communicate with those in the industry about the amended legislation," he said, "and now it has been delayed. The changes to Part G have a far-reaching impact, not least in potentially increasing some business costs.

"Well-prepared businesses may now be faced with potentially misquoting – and even losing contracts – because of this very late decision. It is already a difficult enough trading period without this further handicap."

Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) chief executive Blane Judd said: "The CIPHE - like many others in the industry - was caught out by the announcement regarding the delay. We understand that this has come about as a result of concerns coming from European consultation, although as yet detail is still sketchy.

"We had started education programmes to bring plumbing and heating engineers up to speed with the new requirements.

"We are taking a positive view that we can use the extra time that the delay has provided to engage with larger numbers so the changes are more quickly implemented once they come into force.

"Any amendments that may occur are likely to be minor and can be addressed easily through the normal communication channels that the Institute uses to pass on information to professionals in the sector."

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