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The government has laid before Parliament regulations to enact the proposals contained in the Consultation response: EV Charge points in Residential and Non-residential Buildings.
We previously wrote about the proposals following the consultation response, issued last November. The regulations now provide the detail developers and other stakeholders need to ensure compliance with the new requirements.
In this legal update, we answer some key questions about the new regulations and their application.
The Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 will come into force on 15 June 2022.
The regulations contain transitional provisions. They will not apply in relation to building work where a building notice or an initial notice has been given to, or full plans deposited with, a local authority before 15 June 2022 provided that the building work is then commenced before 15 June 2023.
There must be one of the following material changes of use:
the building is used as a dwelling, where previously it was not;
the building contains a flat, where previously it did not; or
the building, which contains at least one dwelling, contains a greater or lesser number of dwellings than it did previously.
The change of use must also involve building work being done to:
the electrical infrastructure of a car park within the site boundary;
to the electrical infrastructure of the building (where the car park is within the building); or
to the car park generally where the nature of the work is such that it would be reasonable to expect the EV charge point requirements to be completed as part of the work.
As previously reported, exemptions exist for buildings undergoing change of use to create homes in relation to listed building (or certain other protections/designations) and the limitations of the existing power supply.
Where the installation of the number EV charge points which would otherwise be required would increase grid connection costs by more than £3,600 per charge point, it will only be necessary to install the maximum number of charge points which it is possible to install for an average connection cost of £3,600 or less per point.
The cap only applies in relation to new residential buildings, not changes in use, renovations, or new non-residential buildings.
Following responses to the consultation, the government is taking a precautionary approach in relation to car parking spaces which are ‘covered’ (defined as any situated beneath a roof, but not car ports or residential garages).
Further research is being carried out into appropriate safety measures to guard against and mitigate any EV fires which might occur in covered car parks.
In the meantime, the requirements of the regulations must first be applied to non-covered spaces. If they cannot be fully met in that way, then cable routes will additionally be required in some or all of the covered spaces.
‘Major renovation’ means the renovation of a building where more than 25% of the surface area of the building envelope undergoes renovation.
Where a mixed-use building is being renovated, the surface area of the whole building should be assessed to determine whether there is a major renovation.
To be capable of triggering the EV charge point requirements, the major renovation must also involve work being done to the car park or its electrical infrastructure of the car park or the building, in the same way as discussed above in relation to changes of use.
The headline exemptions are covered in our previous insight. Different exemptions apply depending on whether the property is residential or non-residential.
Care must be taken with the exemptions. Where some of them apply (e.g. a residential building undergoing fire safety remediation), they fully exempt the building from the regulations.
Where others apply (e.g. where the existing power supply of a residential building can only accommodate fewer than the required number of charge points), the regulations still require the maximum number of charge points that can be accommodated within the existing power supply to be provided (and cable routes to be installed in other parking spaces).
Yet other exemptions (e.g. where EV charging infrastructure costs exceed 7% of the total cost of the major renovation of the building) lead to a hybrid approach where no EV charge points are required to be provided, but certain numbers of cable routes need to be provided instead, unless the cost of those cable routes would also exceed the 7% threshold.
The regulations say charge points must:
be capable of providing a reasonable power output;
run on a dedicated circuit; and
be compatible with all vehicles which may require access to it.
Further detailed requirements for charge points are set out in Approved Document S published alongside the regulations. These include having a minimum nominal rated power output of 7kW.
The Secretary of State must carry out a review of the new provisions and publish a report at least once every five years. This is presumably so that the provisions can keep pace with potential future changes to EV demand and usage.
Navigating the requirements of the new regulations is not straightforward. Appropriate professional advice should be sought at an early stage of the development, renovation or change of use process to ensure clarity over your EV charging infrastructure obligations. TLT’s full-service Real Estate Group includes a dedicated Clean Energy Team and is well-placed to assist you.
Contributor: Matt Battensby
17 January 2022