Building Regulation changes all plumbing merchants need to be aware of

In 2010, significant changes to the UK’s Building Regulations had a significant effect on all parts of the construction industry.

19th June 2015

They not only adjusted requirements for the structure of new buildings, but also affected fire safety, plumbing and ventilation. Although builders’ merchants and tradesmen have had five years to adjust to the revisions, there are still some parties who are not fully aware of what the changes mean for them. As a plumbing merchant, you should understand the ins and outs of the 2010 revisions so you can manage stock accordingly and even create a few upselling opportunities.

Temperature controls

All new homes, including those created by a change of use, must have the temperature of hot water supplied to bath(s) limited to a maximum of 48°C. In practice, this is almost always achieved with the fitting of a thermostatic mixing valve. TMVs should be set to a maximum of 44-46°C with a tolerance of ±2°C. At present, this temperature requirement does not extend to other hot water appliances and doesn’t apply to baths in extensions of existing dwellings.

Clearly this revision was made for safety reasons – it almost entirely eliminates the chance of scalding in the bath and helps control the growth of legionella bacteria.

As a plumbing merchant, the commercial opportunities that this regulation change presents appear limited. Providing information about the usefulness of TMVs (and hot water safety) both in store and online shows that you’re fully aware of current legislation – and this kind of expertise can win you loyal customers.

Water efficiency

With the seemingly endless supply of rain Britain receives each year, it’s easy to forget that many of the UK’s most populous areas are suffering from water stress – and the issue will only get worse as the climate changes and the UK population rises. Our appliances can be water efficient as well as energy efficient. In the 2010 Building Regulation revisions, Part G states that any new dwelling (or a dwelling after a change of use) should be designed to meet a total water consumption of a maximum of 125 litres per person per day.

Calculating the expected water consumption of a dwelling is a tedious task, completed using ‘The Water Efficiency Calculator for New Dwellings’ [pdf]. Plumbing merchants can endeavour to make the task slightly easier for their customers by ensuring that usage data such as water consumption, flow rate or capacity is readily available.

In the future, it’s reasonable to expect this average water consumption figure to be decreased again to encourage further water efficiency – particularly in areas of water stress. Merchants may wish to use their stock control software to monitor sales of different appliances based on their water consumption. Identifying areas of increased demand before your competitors is key to gaining an edge.

If you’d like to learn more about the recent revisions to the Building Regulations, you can review the full approved documents on the Planning Portal website, in addition to a list of FAQs from tradesman. All documents are available to download for free but you will have to pay for hard copies.

Understanding the impact of legislative changes on your supply chain and demand from your customers is vital to your continued success. Stock management software provides you with the data visibility you need to adapt your purchasing and selling strategies for ever-changing market conditions. 

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