2014 has arrived and so, at the risk of being ageist, it’s ‘Out with the old and in with the new’. Given the upturn in demand for new housing many people could be doing just that by getting a helping leg up the property ladder.

As government initiatives on new build continue to encourage the purchase of a shiny new home, housebuilders welcome in the New Year in with open order books and first time buyers with open mouths, astonished that they will be able to afford a state of the art new home.

What will the biggest purchase of most people’s lives deliver? It’s brand spanking new, so clearly it will be the built to the most up to date standards right?

Er, No. If you are lucky 2010 or failing that a 2006 specification.

Transitional Arrangements

What? Yes, due to something called ‘transitional arrangements’ it takes around 18 to 24 months before larger housebuilders have to adhere to the new Regs, sometimes longer.

So the new regs in 2014 (for reasons of regulatory tardiness they are actually the 2013 regs) will not deliver the improved EPC performance, and lower fuel bills, in the shape of an up-to-date house until 2016.

What if…

… that was a car.  Here’s your new car – could have built it with a better fuel efficiency but you have got one built to a 2010 specification. You don’t mind do you?

Car customers of course, do mind, as they know the more efficient the car the lower the vehicle excise duty. Home buyers don’t get any tax break if they buy an EPC rated ‘B’ over a ‘C’ rated property so don’t have energy efficiency front of mind, even though it will hit them in their back pocket with higher energy bills.

So, new houses get built to old specifications and customers buy them because their focus is more on the quality of kitchen and bathroom installation than the performance of the loft, floor and wall insulation.

Until the public are incentivised to take a ‘miles per gallon’ equivalent view of their own homes, then little will change.

Part L 2013 Regulations

Encouragingly, the new Part L 2013 regulations have a new compliance target based around energy demand for a house called ‘FEES. So, when you buy a new (old) house in 2016 hopefully it won’t need ‘filling up’ quite so often at one of the Big 6’s pumps as many of those on offer today.

In the meantime taking a closer look at the EPC report for houses both old and new is not a bad resolution for 2014. Act on the advice therein and help lower the bills. One day it may give you a tax break too.

For more information on Part L 2013 regulations visit insulatingbritain.co.uk