Building Safety Compliance - 3 Tips on Adhering to Approved Document L

Ryan Gerrard / 07 July 2023

The grace period is now over – the changes to Approved Document L, which originally came into effect from 15th June 2022, are now in full force. For notices and plans that had been submitted before the date of enactment, the grace period to start work allowed until 15th June 2023. Now, architects, specifiers, and installers must all comply with the new building legislation, which details Conservation of Fuel & Power across new builds, extensions, and renovations in both dwellings and non-dwellings.

Here at illbruck, our team of technical and specification experts are well-versed in the updates to Approved Document L and are on-hand to help you comply with the regulations, as well as find the most appropriate solutions for your construction projects. Below are our top 3 tips on how to ensure you are compliant with Approved Document L.

1. Familiarise yourself with the regulations

Now that the regulations must be adhered to, it is important to familiarise yourself with the requirements of Approved Document L to ensure that any construction works you are involved in are compliant with the legislation. The changes to this document stipulate that buildings must now be constructed to a minimum standard of total energy performance. Evaluated by comparing calculations of the performance of the ‘actual dwelling’ versus the calculations of a theoretical dwelling’s performance, which is defined as the ‘notional dwelling’, these must be carried out at both the design stage and once the work is complete. The following metrics are used to describe the performance of the notional dwelling:

  • Target primary energy rate – measured in kWhPE/m2 per year: influenced by the fabric and fuel
  • Target emission rate – measured in kgCO2 /m2 per year: influenced by the fabric and fuel
  • Target fabric energy efficiency rate – measured in kWh/m2 per year: influenced by the fabric only

All three rates of building performance must be calculated using the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure, Appendix R. Becoming familiar with the legislation is by no means a way of guaranteeing compliance - Both Volumes 1 and 2 of the documents should be read and fully understood prior to commencing work on a construction project, and can be accessed via the Government’s website.

2. Look towards a fabric first approach to construction

With a requirement for all new builds to be “nearly zero energy”, in-line with the UK’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, a fabric first approach is an optimum way of complying with Approved Document L. This energy-efficient approach to construction looks at maximising the performance of the building envelope through enhancing its airtightness and thermal performance qualities, as well as eliminating thermal bridging. Architects, specifiers, and main contractors must now provide on-site evidence of the installation to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations. Therefore, adopting a fabric first approach at the design stage of the project and not relying on add-on features further down the line, will help you to become compliant.

3. Select suitable products from a reputable manufacturer

Selecting the right products and installing them correctly is key when adhering to Approved Document L. For a new build, the regulations state: “Windows and doors: to ensure continuity of the air barrier, window and door units should connect to the primary air barrier and window and door frames should be taped to surrounding structural openings, using air sealing tape. Compressible seals or gun sealant may be used to supplement taping.’’

An optimum way of achieving the continuity of the air barrier is by utilising solutions that cover the internal, external, and insulation sealing of a building. For over 70 years, illbruck has been at the forefront of sealing and bonding excellence and is recognised by building professionals and the wider construction industry across the UK, Europe, and around the world. We offer high quality products that can help you to achieve the target energy rates, such as our market-leading, fully BBA certified i3 system. This state-of-the-art universal sealing system for the perimeter sealing of windows encompasses the concept of sealing out the weather whilst sealing in comfort and energy savings. Complete with a 10-year warranty, the i3 system provides added assurance of building performance and compliance with Approved Document L.

Here at illbruck, we offer more than just products. Backed by our team of experts, we are well placed to help you adhere to the building regulations through our comprehensive suite of services. These range from specification services, including technical and on-site support to help you ensure our products are being installed correctly, and our selection of advice tools. Additionally, as part of the Tremco CPG UK family of brands, our training academy provides a series of online and in-person training sessions, designed to make your journey through the complex world of construction easier. From RIBA-approved CPD seminars, toolbox talks, and coffee chats – the illbruck team is here to help you.

For more information about how to become compliant with Approved Document L, please get in touch today.