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Author Topic: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!  (Read 7255 times)

Emma Furniss

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Please post your comments here.  James Livingstone's article can be found here - http://www.aecb.net/dont-let-them-put-our-environmental-standards-on-the-red-tape-bonfire/

Kate de S

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2013, 01:09:26 PM »
James Livingstone started a forum thread on the topic of the Housing Standards Review a few weeks ago, and I added some general info and links.

You can view the previous thread here http://www.aecb.net/forum/index.php/topic,3906.0.html - but please return to this new thread to post comments, either on the soapbox article, or on the Housing Standards Review (or indeed, the Allowable Solutions proposals) in general. Many thanks.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 01:15:02 PM by Kate de S »

Kate de S

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2013, 09:24:47 PM »
If you haven't already seen it, we now also have a round-up of the changes proposed by DCLG in this Review, plus a selection of the questions that members might be most interested in answering. There is also a detailed response to the questions on water, written in the light of the AECB water standards by Cath Hassell, who repesented AECB on one of the housing review working groups - and had some success there, as you will have read in Network.

Note that there was one extra question in the Technical Annexe; Cath has supplied a response for this as well, now uploaded to the AECB main pages, so that members can borrow from all the AECB responses on water when writing responses of their own.

All of these documents are brought together here: http://www.aecb.net/housing-standards-review-information-and-opinion-from-aecb/

Dave Howorth

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2013, 08:44:31 PM »
<rant>

I have to say that the water regs are the one piece of building regs that I hate the most, but the AECB approach does not appear to answer my concerns. In fact it seems to move in the wrong direction; being more prescriptive.

Let me state my opinions. I do believe that reducing water usage is a good idea (I really don't want to have to think hard enough to have an opinion about whether it is necessary,but I'm happy to accept the point). And we should be reducing the energy consumed (That I do think is necessary).

However, current policy clearly doesn't agree. And as a person about to build a new house, I don't see why I should suffer more than my neighbours in old houses. So until water meters are mandatory for all houses, and we penalise utilities effectively for leaks and bad infrastructure, I really don't see why I should face any additional regulation.

Our previous house and our current one both have water meters, and we use less than the targets. With power showers, full size baths, unrestricted flow taps, 9-litre WCs. The whole point is that what matters is usage, not fittings. We don't take half hour showers until the hot water cylinder is empty. If it's yellow, let it mellow (within reason!); if it's brown, flush it down.

So let's have compulsory water meters everywhere. Let's have tariffs that provide 80 litres/day/person free of charge, another 40 litres at current rates, and anything more at ten times the current rate. Or some similar scheme.

And no rules at all about what fittings I have or how I use the water.

In other words, the building regulations are entirely the wrong forum for a debate about water usage.

JMHO. Thank you for listening.

</rant>

Kate de S

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 02:54:43 PM »
I have hastily assembled a draft response to the housing standards consultation - from me personally, that is. Almost certainly full of typing errors, bashed out on the sofa last night, and horrible document to proofread (excuses excuses) - however, shared here FYI. Do comment.

Re your point on water Dave - understand what you mean but I am personally more inclined to go along with the AECB position, but more because of the way the AECB approach puts energy saving (and therefore, affordability for occupants) up there with water saving - and I can't see another way to do this. I also think that mass housebuilders need prescribing to, as they don't appear to give a fig about either water or energy, left to their own devices. As I understand the AECB recommendations, the idea is that the standards are set such that you shouldn't have to suffer - no miniature baths a grown man can't get into , etc.

(Two versions here now, the non-draft version now has a response to Q1, on the issue of their "viability test", plus  few other new remarks)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 03:16:27 PM by Kate de S »

Dave Howorth

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 09:11:13 PM »
The point for me is that the 'water problem' is entirely a matter of usage, not a matter of construction. Plus the problem is not fundamental in the way that energy is. There is plenty of water in this country, but less where policy has put the people. But that can be fixed; there are credible schemes for pipelines, water collection or even desalination if we want to pay for them. And it is crystal clear that as a nation we are not yet serious about water conservation since water meters are only voluntary.

Building Regulations should be about safety, not somebody's idea of what might be good enough for me not to squeak about the depth (or width) of my bath or the adequacy of my toilet flush. Individuals should take those decisions in a free market, with suitable financial motivation.

Nick Grant

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 07:16:47 PM »
Hi Dave

I was co-author of the AECB Water Standards which are intended as voluntary best practice guidance not as some sort of punishment. Have you read them?

As you say a lot of water use is down to behaviour and the AECB standards acknowledge that. Also we focus on hot water because of the energy impact.

There are some things that are down to design such as minimising hot water dead legs, not the sort of thing most designers would think about or know what might be a good target.

Nick

Dave Howorth

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Re: Donít Let Them Put Our Environmental Standards on the Red Tape Bonfire!
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2013, 11:20:46 AM »
Hi Nick

I'm not quite sure where behaviour comes into the AECB standard? It prescribes flow rates for fittings and says nothing about actual total water (or energy) usage, so it's exactly the kind of thing I object to, I'm afraid.

It also appears to want me to install additional meters, over and above the water board one. I'm not clear how they reduce water usage at all. I'd be happy if just one water meter was compulsory for each water supply in the country. Until it is, I don't see the point of any other measures.

If people find any of these measures help them to save water, that's fine, please use them. Just please don't try to impose them on me. Tell me what the actual requirement is and let me manage it in my own way.

FWIW, we use more water in our current house with fewer WCs and showers and lower flow rate WC and shower than our previous house. The number and flow rate of fittings does not determine usage. I suspect the difference is because of the presence of a combi boiler, and the poor design of the house (it's old). Hopefully our new house will be better, despite the regulations.

 

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