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BEAMA advises on Boiler Plus changes

With changes due in April to the Building Regulations' requirements for heating controls, BEAMA is reassuring installers that official industry guidance will be available in advance of this date to help them comply, and advising them to be aware that there may be conflicting advice in the market while ambiguity remains over the defined control solutions.

Following the publication of the Heat in Buildings Consultation response at the end of last year, the UK Government published amendments to the 2013 Domestic Building Services Compliance guide that will come into force on April 6 2018.

Informally referred to as ‘Boiler Plus,’ these amendments aim to improve the efficiency of installed heating systems, particularly through the installation of additional controls. The specific requirements that installers will now have to follow when replacing a boiler are as below:

  1. Ensure that the system meets minimum standards for boiler interlock, time and temperature control as they would for a new system. (This was generally accepted as a requirement by industry and Building Control in the current building regulations, but is now more clearly stated.)
  2. When installing a combination boiler (both new and replacement), either flue gas heat recovery, weather compensation, load compensation or a smart thermostat with automation and optimisation should be installed. 

Obviously, the intention here is to promote the implementation of technologies that are less common in UK homes, but the very fact that these are uncommon means that many installers will be facing a requirement to use new products and learn new skills. In addition, building control officers whose job is to make sure that installations comply with the regulations will also need to be up to speed. 

One of the most basic issues can be simply knowing which controls meet the specified definitions, and this is not necessarily as straightforward as it sounds. Looking at the various legislative instruments applying to boilers and controls for residential applications in the UK, it is possible to identify six separate definitions for weather compensation (including the one in the new guide), all of which are slightly different and can therefore be fulfilled by different technologies.

It is this complexity that BEAMA is attempting to unravel. Work is underway, in conjunction with HHIC, to establish a set of industry defined ‘functional definitions’ for controls so that it can be made clear to everyone what technologies will fulfil the requirements of the Building Regulations and other legislation.

This work should be complete by the end of February and, at the same time, BEAMA will release its updated Building Regulations Guidance document. This document provides details of recommended system layouts to give confidence that designs and installations are in accordance with the relevant parts of the Building Regulations. 

26 January 2018

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