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plugging in to the green revolution: electric cars and the new charge point infrastructure regulations

Member News published by Howes Percival LLP, under Battery technology , Clean Tech, Energy applications, Legal / IP

Electric cars and the new charge point infrastructure regulations

The UK has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Transport is the largest emitting sector in the UK, responsible for 27% of all our greenhouse gas emissions, with over half of them (55%) coming from cars so electric vehicles (‘EVs’) will help reduce emissions. Under current government proposals, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. The government plans to add up to 145,000 new charge points to England’s grid network each year in the run up to 2030 to service the 14 million EVs expected to be on the roads by the end of the decade.

Achieving these ambitions will require a sufficient EV infrastructure network, including -

  • Charge points that are easily accessed across the UK, including at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers
  • On-street charge points
  • Ensuring local planning policies require developments to include facilities for the charging of EVs
  • Uniform standards for charge points
  • Installing charge points in all new homes and commercial properties.

This article looks at the last two items on the list.

 

CHARGE POINTS IN BUILDINGS

Regulations have been made introducing a new Part S into the Building Regulations 2010, which sets out technical requirements for the mandatory installation of EV charge points and/or cable routes when certain types of building work are undertaken.

Key dates

Coming into force on 15 June 2022, the amendments will not apply to building work where a building notice or an initial notice has been given to, or full plans have been deposited with, a local authority before that date, provided that the building work starts before 15th June 2023. There will be a six month transitional period to allow industry to prepare for the new rules.

THE NEW REQUIREMENTS

The technical requirements vary according to the type of work being undertaken.

New residential developments

Where parking spaces are provided within a new residential development, every new dwelling with on-site parking must have a charge point unless the average connection cost exceeds £3600. In developments with more than 10 parking spaces, cable routes must be installed in any parking spaces that would be required to have charge points but for the operation of the cap. The government believes that one charge point will be adequate for the majority of households but cable route requirements will facilitate the installation of additional charge points easily and cheaply in the future.

The £3600 cap, which will be kept under review, is intended to protect developers from excessively high connection costs so that the UK can continue to build the housing stock it needs. To benefit from this exemption, developers will need to provide evidence that the average connection cost exceeds £3600 by submitting at least two formal quotes to the building control body during the notice/plans stage, at least one of which should be from a distribution network operator (‘DNO’).

New dwellings from material change of use

Where one or more dwellings with on-site parking will result from a building undergoing a material change of use, at least one space per new dwelling must have access to an EV charge point unless -

  • The existing incoming power supply is insufficient to install all the charge points, or
  • The building is listed, a scheduled monument or in a conservation area, where compliance would unacceptably alter the building’s character or appearance.

Where not all the prescribed charge points can be accommodated within the existing electrical supply, the requirements will only apply to the maximum number of charge points that can be accommodated and cable routes for charge points must be installed in all the remaining spaces.

Major renovations to existing dwellings

For example, a block of flats undergoing renovation of over 25% of the building’s surface area, including parking areas.

Residential buildings undergoing major renovation must have at least one EV charge point for each dwelling with on-site parking, and cable routes in every space without charge points, unless -

  • The building will not have more than 10 on-site parking spaces after the renovation is complete
  • Installation costs exceed 7% of the total renovation costs
  • The existing incoming electrical power supply is insufficient to install all the charge points, or
  • The building is undergoing renovation for the purposes of fire safety remediation.

Major renovations to commercial buildings

Non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation must have a minimum of one charge point, and cable routes for one-in-five of the total number of spaces unless –

  • The building will not have more than 10 on-site parking spaces after the renovation is complete, or
  • Installation costs exceeds 7% of the total renovation costs.

New commercial buildings

All new non-residential buildings with more than 10 on-site parking spaces must have a minimum of one charge point, and cable routes for one-in-five of the total number of spaces.

Mixed-use developments

In mixed-use developments, requirements for residential and non-residential buildings will apply according to the number of allocated parking spaces for each use type.

Cable routes: two-tier exemption for all major renovations

For both commercial and residential buildings undergoing major renovation, and in contrast to the exemption for change of use dwellings, developers will be exempt from the cable route requirements as well as the charge point requirements, if the installation costs exceed 7% of the total renovation costs.

Exemption applicable in all cases

The new charge point requirements do not apply to parking spaces in enclosed or open-sided car parks, e.g. basements, those below buildings and multi-stories, although cable route requirements should still be met. This exemption does not apply to individual garages. The government believes further research is necessary into the safety measures in these types of car parks to mitigate and manage fires, on the rare occasion one might occur. It will produce interim guidance for those responsible for such car parks.

MINIMUM SPECIFICATION FOR CHARGE POINTS

Under the new regulations, charge points must have a minimum charging power of 7kW, be at least Mode 3 or equivalent and be untethered. The government believes that these standards will sufficiently future-proof standards for home charging and better enable smart charging, compared to lower powers and other mode types. As these are minimum standards, developers may provide charge points with higher performing kW and Mode if they choose to do so.

NO RETROFITTING FOR COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS

The government decided against introducing its proposed requirement for one charge point in all existing non-residential properties with more than 20 parking spaces because consultees were significantly less supportive of this proposal (too few charge points for large companies and too many for smaller ones). Instead, the government will develop an alternative policy that “is fit for purpose”, with separate legislation.

This means that charge points will only be installed in new or refurbished commercial properties and these regulations will therefore do nothing for householders who do not have off-road parking, estimated to be around 40% of car owners and up to 70% of van owners.

We will look at options for these drivers in our next article.

If you would like further information about installing charge points in homes or commercial properties, please contact Christopher.Cubitt@howespercival.com or Deborah.Caldwell@howespercival.com.

Additional information can also be found at gov.uk 

© Howes Percival LLP

The information on this site about legal matters is provided as a general guide only. Although we try to ensure that all of the information on this site is accurate and up to date, this cannot be guaranteed. The information on this site should not be relied upon or construed as constituting legal advice and Howes Percival LLP disclaims liability in relation to its use. You should seek appropriate legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action.

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