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Building Regulations Part G

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

I am today publishing a consultation document on options for revising part G of the building regulations addressing sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency in buildings.

This consultation follows a wide-ranging review of part G of the building regulations and delivers on two Government commitments:

to introduce into the building regulations a whole-building water efficiency standard of 125 litres per person per day for new homes. We announced this water efficiency policy last July following an earlier consultation; and

to review how part G and the associated guidance addresses hot water safety. This follows a statement released by my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Angela E. Smith) last June on the safety of hot water systems and on the risk of scalding from hot water.

The consultation package, which includes an impact assessment of options, seeks views on a number of changes to the regulations and supporting guidance, and invites consultees to provide us with information on other options. The main areas we are consulting on are, in summary:

proposals to update and bring part G (hygiene) and the guidance in the associated approved document into line with current standards, legislation and industry practice;

the proposed inclusion of a new section on cold water services which would specify locations within the building where a supply of “wholesome” water is required, and which in turn makes it possible to allow the use of “non-wholesome” water in other locations, such as the use of captured rainwater for toilet flushing;

proposals that bring into effect the Government’s policy on water efficiency;

proposed measures to provide for consistent safety of hot water systems; and

a request for more information on the costs and benefits to allow further exploration into the possibility of limiting the temperature of water delivered to sanitary appliances to prevent scalding.

The Government would like to support a provision that would help reduce the risk of scalding incidents from sanitary appliances, and we are aware of the support this would have from many hon. Members and other stakeholders. However, our initial analysis of such a provision suggests that the costs of such measures are considerably out of proportion to the benefits they would deliver. Unfortunately, this means it is not currently possible for us to bring forward a definite proposal for consultation. However, as part of this consultation we are inviting more information to be provided to inform our analysis.

The consultation is accompanied by impact assessments and can be accessed via the Communities and Local Government website at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/partgconsultation.

The consultation closes on 5 August 2008.