Contractors World UK & Ireland Vol 3 No 6 - page 34

environment in keeping with the under-
standing and expertise of local planning
authorities, and the Building Regulations,
which deal with technical standards.”
Berry concluded: “The Code for
Sustainable Homes may have served a useful
purpose in setting and driving standards for
sustainable building, but as the Standards
Review recognised, the Government’s policy
on zero carbon homes has now outstripped
any need for the Code.
It must be recognised that current energy
efficiency standards required under Part L of
the Building Regulations, and the proposed
uplift in standards due to be implemented
in 2014, are already extremely
ambitious and highly chal-
lenging for the industry.
The idea that local authorities
would be looking to set higher
standards still is baffling, and
frankly divorced from reality.
In reality, at a time when
local government resources are
already stretched to breaking
point, it must be asked what
expertise and understanding do
local planning authorities have
to start second-guessing tech-
nical building standards?”
Chancellor must make
housing his top infrastructure
The Chancellor must prioritise investment in
Britain’s ageing housing stock by reducing
VAT on renovation and repair work and
investing public money in improving the
homes of the fuel poor in order to secure the
economic recovery and protect households
from rising energy bills, said the Federation
of Master Builders (FMB) in a submission
ahead of George Osborne’s Autumn
Statement on 4th December.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB,
said: “The Chancellor must view the UK’s
homes as an infrastructure investment
priority if he wants to fulfil his responsi-
bilities by boosting growth and protecting
families from rampant increases in the cost
of energy.
“Unlike big rail or aviation projects,
domestic repair and improvement projects
can start right away, so the positive impact
on the economy would be felt immediately.”
Berry added: “The Chancellor must act
quickly and decisively to cut VAT on all
domestic building work to 5 percent, which
will encourage more householders to have
energy-saving measures installed and give
families new armour in the fight against
ever-increasing energy bills.
“It just doesn’t make sense that the full
rate of VAT is charged on work to make the
average British home warmer and cheaper
to run. Just under half of EU member states
currently offer a discounted rate of VAT on
this type of work, so why is the UK also
not taking advantage of the opportunity to
incentivise the market in this way?”
Berry continued: “We also call on the
Chancellor to look at ways of funding a
Page 34
Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 3 No 6
Photo: Bill Nicholls
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