Our Opinion on the Future Buildings Consultation

Earlier this week we held our first Spring Regional Meeting for 2021 and we were delighted to welcome representatives from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to discuss the draft proposal for the revision to Approved Document F (ADF) – means of ventilation of the building regulations.

This is the second phase of the consultation and this time the focus is on existing buildings. Amendments to ADF to see greater inclusion of existing buildings has been an aspiration of the Association for a number of years and we have eagerly awaited the release of this section of the document.

Members can respond to the draft proposal, by clicking on the button below:

Consultation: Future Buildings Standard Survey >>

Highlighting a few key points from PCA’s response

This is a short blog to highlight some of the key areas that will be included within the PCA response to the consultation. I have previously expressed my concerns regarding the shocking inclusion that historic buildings with ‘vapour permeable construction’ such as lime mortar didn’t need ventilation!

I have previously covered this in my blog ‘Now things have got ridiculous!’ (so there is no need to go over the detail again) but, it was somewhat reassuring to hear during the regional meeting, MHCLG insinuating that concerns about exceptions on listed buildings was something that was already firmly on their radar!

The proposal also suggests getting rid of the domestic ventilation compliance guide and trying to incorporate the relevant information within the Approved Document. In principle, this sounds like a great idea! Its one less hoop to jump through to find the relevant information to ensure compliant installs. However unfortunately, I feel that some of the good information from that document has been lost.

For example, we know that ducting is the failure of most ventilation failures and I have found that this a clear and simple illustration of the dos and don’t for ducting:

Ducting Image_Approved Document F

This next diagram has been included within the new proposal which adds nothing that can’t be articulated clearly in a few words:

Diagram 1.1_Extract Ventilation_Approved Document F

Admittedly this has been pulled across from the Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide, but this is hardly a difficult concept that warrants a diagram!?!

The main point and focus of the changes

The main focus of the revision is around ensuring ventilation is appropriate after retrofit works. Undoubtedly this is a big factor but we know that the quality of ventilation installs in existing buildings can be questionable. Within the document they indicate that their intention is that existing dwellings should be commissioned:

Ventilation Installs_Existing Buildings_Intention_Approved Document F

Whilst it states this is their intention, I think this could and should be made clearer within the body of the proposal. They should be bold and clearly state all ventilation installs must meet the standards outlined in this document.  To often we have seen poor installs by contractors who do not truly have an understanding of ventilation.

Another strange omission within the document is the lack of reference to Positive Input Ventilation (PIV). We know that many of our members have resolved many condensation issues throughout the country using this type of ventilation system, so why does it not get mentioned within the proposal?

Have ‘Your Say’ on the Consultation

The consultation on ventilation in existing homes section in Approved Document F closes on 13th April 2021 and we urge as many PCA members as possible to respond.

Consultation: Future Buildings Standard Survey >>

We are also collating responses from our members to share directly with MHCLG. Therefore if you have any specific comments you would like to feed back, please send to James Berry on james@property-care.org by 5pm on Monday 22nd March.

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