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« Beddington whips science five-nil | Main | Your taxes at work »
Tuesday
Apr102012

Westminster loses it

Christopher Booker's article in the Mail is extraordinary. The idea that we are intending to add massively to the cost of making home improvements by forcing people to complete a variety of other works at the same time is quite mindblowing.

 

Anyone thinking of building a new conservatory, replacing their old boiler or putting in new windows had better move fast.

If they wait a couple of years they could find themselves falling foul of a deluge of new ‘green’ red tape that will leave them having to pay thousands of pounds extra.

Under plans being discussed by the Government, revealed by yesterday’s Daily Mail, anyone hoping to make improvements to their home from 2014 may have to carry out a whole lot of additional works to show their property is ‘energy efficient’.

 

I find the idea that it will be forbidden to replace a broken down boiler without spending thousands more quite immoral. Are people supposed to sit in the cold if they can't afford it?

This is going to make ordinary people very, very angry.

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    - Bishop Hill blog - Westminster loses it

Reader Comments (111)

"This is going to make ordinary people very, very angry."

If only!

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

It's something similar to what we have in France. Not the same, but just as stupid. E.G If you have a house of greater than 170m² you must engage an architect even to put up a small wooden shed.


Sarkozy has promised to repeal many of these stupid rules but we will see.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Chris Huhne got in early servicing his old boiler then.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:17 AM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

As the man says sometimes on Instapundit: pitchforks, tar, feathers.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:17 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I hope it does. People need to get angry.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Note that this only applies to home improvements that require planning permission. Replacing a boiler does not fall under the proposed rules.

It is an astonishingly silly proposal nonetheless.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

It makes perfect sense only if you a) are being paid at least an MP's salary and b) you believe our planet is clattering towards CO2 driven catastrophe.

The unintended consequences of this are going to be interesting.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

This will be a cowboy builders charter. They will use this legislation to persuade people to BUY NOW before it is to late.
The government; on the other hand' will claim that it is creating green jobs.
Totally and utterly outragious.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

And comments on several other blogs, which can be referenced from

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=82471

Notice the obscurity of the so called consultation documents, and Jeff Howell's Sunday Telegraph comment about the standard of insulation works.

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

What's the point of people having new boilers, windows or conservatories, if they don't know how to use them properly?

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

My understanding is the proposed changes will be from Oct 2012 for domestic extensions and April 2014 for all other buildings. Revised standards for thermal losses through the walls etc are also being introduced.

A cap of 10% of the contract value muct be spent on "consequential improvements", so if you replace your boiler (say £5K), you will have to provide loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, draught proofing to the value of £500.

It's all part of the "Green Deal" and will likely kill many small builders and/or create many cowboys

Apr 10, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMangoChutney

An Englishman's home is his hassle.

It would be possible for green pester-power to insert itself into every nook and cranny of life and this example is the proof of that.

Apr 10, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

And these proposals are from a government that pledged to cut bureaucracy. I really despair.

Apr 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

And guess who, in the West, is responsible for voting the "government" into office and maintaining them?

Even odds if the government imposes the measure their will not be anything except a mild revolt. In many ways, the myth of the frog in slowly warming water comes to mind except the voters actually stay in the water.

Apr 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Andy S

But I see he's not planning to live with her yet.. :-)

Apr 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Doesn't adding a conservatory reduce the heating bills by itself? I think it's called the greenhouse effect...

Apr 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Even uber-greenie Tim Yeo is taking issue with this as he thinks it will alienate people from the cause. He was interviewed on the today programme this morning.
It would be nice if this was indeed a bridge too far, but let's not forget that we live in a country with petrol at an astronomical price, from which the government takes almost 2/3 in taxes, and if we want to fly to visit relatives etc. we also pay astronomical taxes; and there's not much we can do about it short of taking to the streets.

Apr 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

If Richard Tol is correct (and I think he is) then this is all nonsense.

You do not need planning permission to replace a boiler, or replace windows, or even add a conservatory unless it's fairly substantial addition to the property.

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/conservatories/

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta

David C
Road tax is based upon CO2 emissions - yet this gas is not tested at MOT.
Hmmn.

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Lets just hope the don't drag out TEQ's (carbon rationing) next as a way to meet targets.

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

This is going to make ordinary people very, very angry.

I'm not sure it will. Death by a thousand cuts.

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Apr 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM stephen richards

It's something similar to what we have in France. Not the same, but just as stupid. E.G If you have a house of greater than 170m² you must engage an architect even to put up a small wooden shed.

Is that correct?

I had thought that, to install an outbuilding of less than 20 m², you just need une déclaration de travaux exemptés de permis de construire and this is something you don't need an architect for.

I've always been surprised by the low-key aspect of red-tape in France for house renovation - no building regulations inspection on internal work, you do your own wiring, etc.

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

How do they imagine they are going to enforce this?

Will 'offenders' be frog-marched to a cash machine and forced to hand over 500 quid to the nearest cowboy?

Or made to appear before the beaks who will put on a green cap and sentence them to six inches insulation with no possibility of parole?

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Presumably a Clerk of Works will need to come down from the council to 'sign-off' the work, the way they do with existing planning applications.

Apr 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Martin A

When we put up our garden shed (of less than 20 square metres) all we had to do was supply a sketch map and a drawing of the shed (we used a photoshopped photograph of the site) and fill out a declaration de travaux. As usual the Mairie were very helpful.

A surveyor called round a few weeks later so he could update the plan cadastral.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Barry Woods : Lets just hope the don't drag out TEQ's (carbon rationing) next as a way to meet targets.

In the longer run, assuming the targets are not modified, I don't see any other way of meeting them.
Efficiency gains, once the low hanging fruit has gone, are a dead end and renewable is already demonstrating its true worth. Short of some major breakthrough, all that is left is rationing.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Goodness me, you people are slow off the mark. We've had this sort of thing in Queensland since 2010. New houses and townhouses, and major renovations to existing buildings, must achieve a minimum 6-star energy equivalence rating. Units get off a bit lighter with only a 5-star rating.

We also have the The Sustainability Declaration which must be completed before a house, townhouse or unit is marketed or offered for sale. Types of insulation, roof colour, number of east and west facing windows, are they tinted or shaded, solar power output, number of energy efficient globes and so on and so on.

But things can change..............

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday confirmed laws to jettison sustainability declaration forms would be the initial legislation introduced by the new administration when Parliament resumes in mid-May.

The controversial mandatory forms aimed at tackling climate change have dogged home sellers since their introduction in 2010.

Easy.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterGrantB

Planning permission may not come into it but Building Regulations most certainly will be used for this kind of thing. The Council fascisti already use these to enforce unaffordable "improvements" on people. My sister asked for a grant to replace a saggy floor and was told that she would have to raise the ceiling heights to meet current legislation. £10000 became £50000. When she refused they said they would condemn the building! She sold for a huge loss and it turned out they had already earmarked her building for a Council scheme. I do not doubt that the army of climate change officers trolling around the countryside looking for something to do will jump on this one with relish.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

Ok. I've got:
Loft insulation (lots of it)
Double glazing
Draught exclusion around doors
Cavity wall insulation.
So - if I want to relace my presently-non-condensing boiler - what does this barmy government want me to do..?
'Er - right - if you want to replace your boiler, you'll have to.... buy some extra jumpers so that you can turn your heating down. So there...'

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

United Nations Agenda 21 is the name of this game.

CO2 - Sustainability - Green Energy et al.

They are all cover for the real agenda.

READ THE PUBLISHED WORDS OF THE GLOBAL ELITE

it's in your face, but you can't see it, can you?

Many videos at the Fraudulent Climate Website
do expose this chicanery, but will anyone heed?

Simply put this latest Con-Dem Conservatory guff is actually imposed on the UK "Government, by EU Commissars, and in reality lowly servile placemen like so called "Prime Minister" Cameron of the UK has ZERO Authority to challenge this state of affairs. Crypto fascists like former "Prime Ministers" - John Major-Blunder, Tony B. Liar , & Gordoom Brown, have in effect signed away the right of Great Britain to govern itself.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAxel @ Fraudulent Climate

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM | David
At least your non-condensing boiler is likely to last a while yet, I'd be interested to see a true full-life cost comparison between non-condensing and condensing boilers based on real-life failure rates and repair/replacement costs. Does anyone know of such an analysis?

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

I find the idea that it will be forbidden to replace a broken down boiler without spending thousands more quite immoral. Are people supposed to sit in the cold if they can't afford it?

Bishop Hill for PM. I'm only half joking.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I asked how much it would cost to insulate the walls of my 1760's house. The architect replied that you could buy an awful lot of heating oil for £150,000. Also I cannot have more insulation in the comb roofs becasde Elf 'n Safety say the height is too low to allow workers in. Words fail ......

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

DaveS
Yep - its been going 'click - whoomph' for the last twenty years (not so the circulating pump, which tends to clap out about every five. Gets replaced free under my insurance/service scheme, though...)
I too have heard horror stories about condensing boilers...!

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

No known analysis but after two expensive and failed condensing boilers within 5 years I went back to a non condensing boiler and it went on trouble free for the 20 years I owned the house.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

David C
Road tax is based upon CO2 emissions - yet this gas is not tested at MOT.
Hmmn.
Apr 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed
==========================================================

Alan - you will find that CO2 emissions ARE part of the MOT Test.

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

On a similar subject - there was an article in last week's Sunday Times 'Home' section about the other barmy proposal from this government - to 'clad' the outside of period properties with insulation.
Clearly they (the barmy government) had not consulted anyone on this proposal - because as the various experts contributing to the article warned, this could lead to damp; deterioration of the stone/brickwork; ruining the appearance of the property; and other problems.
But then - as we all know - the busiest government department is the one which deals with Unintended Consequences...

Apr 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Why all the fuss about the cost of such measures? I'm sure that to everyone in Cameron's "government of chums" the costs seem perfectly affordable.

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"David C wrote:
Road tax is based upon CO2 emissions - yet this gas is not tested at MOT.
Hmmn.
Apr 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed
==========================================================
Alan - you will find that CO2 emissions ARE part of the MOT Test."

---

NO, it isn't CO2, but Carbon Monoxide emissions which are part of the MOT test.
- MOT Tester's Manual - 7.3 Exhaust Emissions

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpoon Jangle

Mostly, that article's just Booker frothing. Most of the proposals actually make perfect sense - from a rational perspective, not just to ecomentalists.

For example, to take the conservatories - whilst the glazed area of your home will increase, unless you demolish a wall to build it, the area of glazed _openings_ will not increase, so your overall insulation value will not change significantly.

If you don't have your home insulated as well as possible by now, why not? If the only reason is that you haven't the money, why are you having a conservatory built in the first place?

Similarly, if you're building off-grid, you certainly ought to (at the very least) strongly consider a heat-pump for heating, rather than oil-fired heating.

If ever there is a case for government telling people what to do for their own good, it's surely with long-term investments like making the housing stock of this country reasonably energy efficient? We have lots of over-regulation in this country, but that doesn't mean every idea is a bad one.

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

Dave S, David>

Re condensing boilers - it's not a problem with the boilers, it's a problem with the installations. A cynic would suggest that the CORGIs do it on purpose to guarantee themselves plenty of work. My dad's installed several for himself in various properties over the years (and got ripped off by a CORGI to certify the installations, natch) and they've all been fine.

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

don't register your house, then the regulations don't apply.

registration (legally speaking) is handing over superior title of your property to the registration authority.

don't believe me? look at your car log book/registration documents

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterislandlife

Re condensing boilers - I recently had a repair to my non-condenser, and asked the repair man about the problems I'd read.

He said that some years ago, installations were often wrong, and reliability was poor, but he'd seen no failures on the newer condensers installed in the last 3 or 4 years - partly due the better hardware, but mainly as the fitters now know what they're doing.

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta

“better hardware”

Possibly, but also much more complex, with fans, lambda sensors, computer control and interlocks that prevent operation unless no errors reported (sensor failure is an error). An old cast-iron Potterton or Ideal-Standard boiler will have a vastly better MTBF, and better TCO over a few decades, even including extra gas or oil consumed.

(mean time between failures/total cost of ownership)

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Spoon jangle

“Carbon Monoxide”

A common misconception, I fear. I doubt that many politicians or journalists even know there are two of them...

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Dave

"why are you having a conservatory built in the first place?"

Because it's supposed to be free country..? I might just prefer to have a warmm, self-heating conservatory than a slightly cheaper-to-run house, especially of some of that warmth filters into said house on sunny days.

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"warmm, of some"

Sorry - cold fingers.

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

James P>

"I might just prefer to have a warmm, self-heating conservatory than a slightly cheaper-to-run house"

Not the point. If money's so tight that you can't afford an extra few hundred quid for insulation - when it'll save you that much in not many years at all - then surely you have higher priorities than adding some luxury to your home like a conservatory? I think anyone spending every penny they have on a conservatory is positively certifiable, but maybe that's just me.

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

"I think anyone spending every penny they have on a conservatory is positively certifiable, but maybe that's just me."

And so the endless nannying continues. Yes, it may be certifiable, but it's nobody's business. That's the point.

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Spoon Jangle

Thanks - I was looking for the reference.

James P

I am sure you are right. They just hear the term "carbon emissions".

Apr 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

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