February 10th 2023

Scotland’s new building regulations and what it means for new build homes

Scotland’s new building regulations and what it means for new build homes

From the 1st February 2023, amendments to Scotland’s official building regulations will come into force for all new building warrants submitted after this date. These regulations and all that have preceded establish a clear and comprehensive set of technical standards for the design and construction of all buildings, which must be adhered to.

Ahead of the changes coming into play, we spoke to Aaron Macaskill, Technical Director at Kirkwood Homes, to understand what the regulations mean for both self-builders and developers, why this change is positive for those looking to move to a new build home, and how Kirkwood Timber Frame is in a strong position to support both self-builders and developers to comply with these updated standards…

What will the regulation changes entail?

“The updates to the Technical Handbook will see changes across the document, including sections 2 and 3 (Fire and Ventilation), however, the main focus is on Section 6 (Energy). All applications for new homes submitted to Building Standards after the 1st of February will be required to have a 32% reduction in carbon emissions compared with 2015 standards.

“Functionally, what this means is that the heat loss from all new homes will need to be reduced by means of higher insulation standards, better airtightness, and the application of new technologies that limit the use of fossil fuels for heating sources. As a result, these measures will reduce the energy demand of the property and its overall carbon emissions. Our design teams are aided by the introduction of the SAP 10 methodology to calculate each property's heating demand and carbon emissions.

“Ultimately, these updated standards will be a positive change for individuals looking to develop new build homes from this date, as they will have enhanced fabric, more insulation, less heat loss through the walls, ceilings and floors, and therefore lower energy bills.”

Why are these changes coming into effect?

“The most significant reason for the changes coming into effect is around offsetting carbon dioxide emissions by reducing energy usage in our homes - which is one of our biggest carbon emitters.

“One of the standards has been amended to introduce a delivered energy target for new buildings of a 32% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the 2015 standard. The updated regulations will also see the introduction of a new Delivered Energy compliance metric to ensure each new home built adheres to this target.”

How is Kirkwood Timber Frame ideally suited to managing these regulation changes?

“Kirkwood Timber Frame have been designing, manufacturing and installing timber frame kits for over 30 years, and have already been producing timber kits that supersede the standards of the current regulation change.

“Timber frame allows you to easily adapt the design of your home product range to factor in the insulation required for regulation changes now and what is to come in the future. Our automated manufacturing facility in Sauchen can produce timber kit depths catering for super insulated wall panels. This allows developers to design and cost for the future knowing that with a small adjustment, their timber kit design will comply with regulations to come.

“Timber frame allows for a fabric first approach to building new homes. Not only do we manufacture timber frame kits, we can also get involved in the process very early on to support customers with the planning and warrant phase so that the fabric of your new home is considered and planned for right from the beginning.”

Will Kirkwood Timber Frame have to do anything differently when the building regulations change?

“No, Kirkwood Timber Frame are already in a position to design and manufacture timber frame kits to comply with the new standards and have a proven track record of providing air tight, well insulated, high quality homes.

“We welcome self builders and developers to get in touch with our team to find out how Kirkwood Timber Frame can cater to their needs.”

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