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New Building Regs for Broadband

Posted by wilkinsoncc on November 30, 2015 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)


Building Regs are like busses - You wait ages for a new one - then 2 come along at once! That's right following hot on the heals of Octobers release of Part Q (Security) DCLG have released a draft Part R for Broadband.

So what is this all about and why is a new regulation necessary?

Well you wont be surprised to find that the European Commission is to blame by introducing a legally binding Directive. The directive requires Member States to ensure that new buildings and major renovations are constructed to enable connection to broadband with speeds of no less than 30 Mbit/s. The requirements of the Directive have to be implemented by “laws, regulations and administrative provisions” and the current approach is that implementation must be done at minimum cost and with no gold-plating.

As the European requirement is triggered by the submission of a “building permit” the obvious route to implementation is the Building Regulations.

No additional primary powers will be needed as the Building Act 1984 can be used to extend the current application process which is already a feature of the UK’s approach under Building Regulations. Enforcement and compliance checking will be undertaken by Building Control Bodies as part of their normal functions. Statutory guidance can then be issued (via the Approved Document) that sets out some of the approaches that developers could take to meet the regulatory requirements.

The draft Approved document has been published and under the new proposals all new housing developments, commercial buildings, schools, retail and other buildings will be required to have infrastructure to enable connections to broadband speeds in excess of 30 Mbit/s.

As ever it will be Small builders, particularly in rural areas where even the most basic technology to enable broadband connection may not be available could be hit hard by the new regulations as they will be required to include the basic internet connection infrastructure in order to gain approval .So in the draft guidance DCLG have included an exemption for single dwellings that are remotely isolated and have no prospect of being served by fast access broadband - which presumably are the only ones which wouldn't be fitted with a phone line in the first place.

Putting aside the fact that the regulations therefore seem to serve no purpose (in fact a similar proposal was shelved in 2004 as it was felt that it was unnecessary ) what do the new regulations actually require?

Well there are several ways to build the required infrastructure. For residential and small commercial buildings, they include:

• Broadband provided over networks originally deployed for cable television via a combination of fibre and coaxial cable. These can deliver speeds of up to 152 Mbit/s.

• A combination of fibre and copper technology. This is where fibre is provided between an exchange and a cabinet, and then the existing copper phone line is used to deliver higher speeds of up to 76 Mbit/s.

• Fibre only technology. These networks rely entirely on fibre to connect buildings to the exchange. This delivers speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s.

For single dwellings a hole in the wall connecting an external access point to the network termination point inside the house is required, the unit cost for houses is expected to be around £68. For flats the EU Directive bizarrely only necessitates ducting not the wiring with an estimated cost of £136.

The full consultation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/new-part-r-of-the-building-regulations and closes on 11th Jan 2016





Posted by wilkinsoncc on October 2, 2015 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)


We are pleased to announce that we have again made the finals of West London Business Awards! The awards are very prestigious and competitive, so to make the finals is quite an achievement. 

Other finalists includehoushold names such as

  • Brunel University
  • Hilton London Heathrow Airport
  • Hammersmith Apollo
  • Wembley Stadium
  • Westfield London
  • Cargiant
  • Pell Frischmann
  • A2Dominion Group
  • Clearview Homes
  • Handelsbanken


The Winners will be announced at a glittering gala dinner presented by Jason Donovan on November 26 with 300 guests expected.



Part B (Wales) New rules require sprinklers in new home

Posted by wilkinsoncc on August 28, 2015 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

New Building Regulations 37A means sprinklers will now be required to all new houses and flats, including those formed by a material change of use.

The rules will only apply in Wales from 1st January 2016, and do not apply to building work which is the subject of an initial notice which is submitted before 1st January 2016, provided that the work is commenced on site on or before 1st January 2017. Applications should ideally be submitted in plenty of time for notices to be served given the Christmas & New Years public holidays.

Full details can be found at





Housing Standards Review 2

Posted by wilkinsoncc on July 30, 2015 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Continuing the series looking at the October changes to Building Regs


In March the outgoing government announced the outcome of the Housing Standards Review, and that all technical standards will (as far as possible) be consolidated in the building regulations and the accompanying approved documents. This is part of an ongoing series looking at those new standards.


This month (and next) I am looking at the changes to Part M - Access and use of Buildings.


As previously explained The Government has created a new approach for the setting of technical standards for new housing. This rationalises the many differing existing standards into a simpler, streamlined system which will reduce burdens and help bring forward much needed new homes.


As a result of the changes the Lifetime Homes code of practice standard and various other local requirements for Accessible housing have been withdrawn from use by planning authorities. Instead Local planning authorities will now only have the option to set additional technical requirements exceeding the minimum standards required by Building Regulations in respect of access to new dwellings by reference to enhanced Building Regulations in National Guidance.


They will have the option to set the requirements at one of three levels - either the base default level Requirement M4(1) Visitable dwellings - which is the current Part M standard or a new increased standard M4(2) for Accessible and adaptable dwellings, or a higher standard still - M4(3) Wheelchair user dwellings.


Architects will ideally need to appoint Building Control prior to making a planning application to advise on the potential impacts, and at the very least will need to include details of any planning conditions as part of the Building Regs application process.

Before looking at detail at these technical standards I should first explain the process involved in selecting the standards. Planning Authorities must now base their requirements on the housing needs assessment and other available datasets. There is a wide range of these datasets including:


• the likely future need for housing for older and disabled people (including wheelchair user dwellings).

• size, location, type and quality of dwellings needed to meet specifically evidenced needs (for example retirement homes, sheltered homes or care homes).

• the accessibility and adaptability of existing housing stock.

• how needs vary across different housing tenures.

• the overall impact on viability.


Having established a need the local planning authority can adopt a policy to provide enhanced accessibility or adaptability but only by reference to Requirement M4(2) and / or M4(3) of the optional requirements in the Building Regulations. They should clearly state in their Local Plan what proportion of new dwellings should comply with the requirements, and then apply these by condition with the planning consent. But it will be Building Control and not planning that will be required to sign off on compliance on these conditions and as a result forms such as application forms, Initial Notices and Final Certificates will all need to be amended to reflect these changes.


As a result of these changes Part M is now broken down into two new approved documents


Approved Document M (Access to and use of buildings):• Volume 1 - Dwellings and • Volume 2 - Buildings other than dwellings


Requirement M4 Sanitary conveniences for dwellings is gone is divided into the 3 new requirements as described above. Architects dealing with M4 (1) dwellings and buildings other than dwellings will find that the technical standards in the approved documents are unchanged from the current Part M. However those dealing with M4 (2) and (3) dwellings will need to become familiar with a whole new set of technical standards.


Enquiries to book CPD courses can be made via office@thebuildinginspector.org



Great Place To Work

Posted by wilkinsoncc on July 30, 2015 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We are pleased to announce that we have been officially accredited with the Natiuonal Workplace Wellbeing Charter Mark.


The Charter Mark, was awarded by Kent County Council at an awards ceremony at Oakwood House in Maidstone


The award followed a detailed audit and interview of staff & management against the 8 awards criteria including Leadership, Absence Management; Health and safety; Smoking and Physical Activity and the company was officially deemed strong enough in all areas to receive the accreditation. In addition the company was recoognised for excellence in Health & Safety and in its flexible working arrangements


This award follows the recent news that WCCL has been named as a finalist in the Family Business Awards 2015.


The auditors stated that

"During the course of the accreditation process it became apparent that there was an ‘open’ culture, with good communication between employees at all levels. There was a friendly atmosphere and a good feeling of comradeship between employees and employers. Staff felt supported and the organisation had a flexible approach to work life balance that made work a positive experience and if they were quite busy, or a bit stressed, the boss even made the tea!

Staff had a good knowledge of health and safety legislation as this is their core business, but felt the process had put ‘health’ more prominently on their agenda. They felt they could share this with other businesses. All were positive about roles, management and felt this was a good place to work.

Gaining the Workplace Wellbeing Charter demonstrates  that Wilkinson Construction is an employer of choice, a successful and happy place of work."



MP Visit

Posted by wilkinsoncc on July 17, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We were recently paid a visit at our West Malling Office by Kent MP Tom Tugendhat. Tom had a brief tour of our offices and spoke to staff to find out more about Approved Inspectors, before heading off to see one of our supervised projects - the extension at Kings Hill Cricket Club. Tom later took to twitter to explain how impressed he had been with our portfolio.



Posted by wilkinsoncc on July 6, 2015 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Wilkinson Construction Consulatnts are pleased to announce we have been shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigous Red Ribbon Family Business Awards. The finals were held at Shakespeare Globe theatre in London in July 2015

Housing Standards Review 1

Posted by wilkinsoncc on June 30, 2015 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

In March the outgoing government announced the outcome of the Housing Standards Review, and that all technical standards will (as far as possible) be consolidated in the building regulations and the accompanying approved documents. This is part of an ongoing series looking at those new standards.

The 2015 edition of Approved Document G (Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency) contains changes to the water efficiency requirements. In particular, it introduces an optional requirement of 110 litres/person/day where required by planning permission, and an alternative fittings-based approach to demonstrating compliance. It also includes the water-efficiency calculation methodology for new dwellings, approved by the Secretary of State.

The first major change is to the regulations themselves whereby regulation 36 has been amended to include two performance levels - a default standard of 125 litres per person per day (unchanged from the 2010 version) and an optional requirement of 110 litres per person per day. This higher standard only applies where the planning permission under which the building work is carried out specifies the optional requirement and makes it a condition that that requirement must be complied with.

The question this throws up is - when does the optional standard kick in and can a planning authority make such a condition? The guidance on the planning portal states that this should only be where there is a clear local need, set out in Local Plan policy.

It will be for a local planning authority to establish such a clear need based on:

• existing sources of evidence.

• consultations with the local water and sewerage company, the Environment Agency and catchment partnerships.

• consideration of the impact on viability and housing supply of such a requirement.

Architects will ideally need to appoint Building Control prior to making a planning application to advise on the potential impacts, and at the very least will need to include details of any planning conditions as part of the Building Regs application process. Building Control will be required to sign off on compliance on these conditions and as a result forms such as application forms, Initial Notices and Final Certificates will all need to be amended to reflect these changes. Architects will need to obtain the new forms in plenty of time for the changes.


The second major change is that there will now be an alternative compliance route to demonstrate how you have met the standard. In the past the only option was to undertake a detailed water use calculation using the nationally approved method. However under the new Approved Document there is now a second simpler option called the fittings approach whereby an architect can simply specify maximum consumption levels for typical fitting such as baths, showers, washing machines etc. There are two new tables (reproduced below) showing the approach for both consumption levels.




This simplifies the application process and helps remove the need for a specialist appointment (such as a CfSH assessor) but does limit the degree of choice of fittings. Also it should be noted that not all countries follow the UK method of specifying water use and some countries allow for bather displacement, which is inconsistent with the tables. Care should be taken in specifying non-UK based products when using the tables.


Last Call on Part L 2010

Posted by wilkinsoncc on March 2, 2015 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

This is a last reminder to Clients who appointed us ahead of the implementation of Part L 2013 that the deadline for commencement of works  is almost upon us.

There is just over 1 month remaining to meet the transitional provisions put in place under Part L for applications deposited prior to 6 April 2014 that requires work to commence on site before 6 April 2015.


In order to qualify as 'commencement of work' we will need to have undertaken an inspection of


  • excavation for strip or trench foundations or for pad footings
  • digging out and preparation of ground for raft foundations
  • vibrofloatation (stone columns) piling, boring for piles or pile driving
  • drainage work specific to the building(s) concerned


DCLG have stated that we cannot accept the following as the commencement of work

  • removal of vegetation, top soil or removal/treatment of contaminated soil
  • demolition of any previous buildings on the site
  • excavation of trial holes
  • dynamic compaction
  • general site servicing works (e.g. roadways).


If the application relates to multiple buildings it is only necessary to commence work on the first of the buildings within the application to take advantage of the transitional provisions, not each individual building.

If you are unable to commence works by this date then it will be necessary to revise the thermal design (SAP/SBEM) in order to comply with the higher 2013 standards.

New CDM rules for domestic clients from April

Posted by wilkinsoncc on February 25, 2015 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

Regulation 7 application to domestic clients


Where the client is a domestic client the duties must be carried out by the contractor for a project where there is only one contractor; the principal contractor for a project where there is more than one contractor; or the principal designer where there is a written agreement that the principal designer will fulfil those duties. If a domestic client fails to make the appointments required by Regulation 5 the designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project is the principal designer and the contractor in control of the construction phase of the project is the principal contractor.

Definition of a domestic client:

A domestic client is someone who has construction work done on their own home, or the home of a family member, which is not done in connection with a business. Local authorities, housing associations, charities, landlords and other businesses may own domestic properties, but they are not a domestic client for the purposes of CDM 2015. If the work is in connection with a business attached to domestic premises, such as a shop, the client is not a domestic client.

Duties of a domestic client:

A domestic client is not required to carry out the duties placed on commercial clients in Regulations 4 (client duties for managing projects), notification nor general duties. Where the project involves only one contractor, client duties must instead be carried out by the contractor. The contractor must then carry out client duties, as well as the duties they already have as contractor for the project. In practice, this should involve doing little more to manage the work to ensure health & safety. Where the project involves more than one contractor, client duties must instead be carried out by the principal contractor as well as the duties they already have as principal contractor. If the domestic client has not appointed a principal contractor then the duties of the client will be carried out by the contractor in control of the construction work.

In many situations, domestic clients wishing to extend, refurbish or demolish parts of their own property will, in the first instance, engage an architect or other designer to produce possible designs for them. It is also recognised that construction work does not always follow immediately after design work is completed. If they so wish, a domestic client has the flexibility of agreeing, in writing, with their designer that the designer coordinates and manages the project, rather than this role automatically passing to the principal contractor.

Where no such agreement is made, then the principal contractor will automatically take over the project management responsibilities.