Charging ahead – Government consults on EV infrastructure


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Earlier this summer, the Government launched its consultation on proposed legislation to require the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in residential and commercial buildings in England. This has implications for landlords for both new-build and existing buildings.

Widespread availability of EV charging is a key component of the Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. The consultation aims to transpose the requirements of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive into UK legislation. It also provides clear direction on the role of developers and landlords in funding and installing the necessary charging infrastructure across the built environment.

The arrangements are underpinned by changes to Building Regulations, which will require the installation of EV charging infrastructure in new buildings and buildings that are undergoing material change in use or major renovation. Separate legislation is proposed to require the installation of chargepoints in certain non-residential buildings, even where works are not being carried out.

Residential buildings

For new-build, the consultation proposes that chargepoints are installed for each dwelling that has a dedicated parking space. In blocks of flats, this means a chargepoint will be needed for every dwelling with an associated car parking space. This requirement also applies to any buildings that are undergoing a material change of use to become dwellings - provided that the relevant works impact the car park or electrical infrastructure (either of the building containing the car park or the car park).

If an existing residential building has more than 10 car parking spaces and is undergoing “major renovations” (see below), then the landlord will also be required to install EV charging cables to every parking space.

Commercial buildings

Similar considerations apply to commercial buildings. Any new building (or an existing building undergoing “major renovations”) with more than 10 car parking spaces is required to have an EV chargepoint and EV charging cables for one in every five parking spaces.

For existing buildings with over 20 car parking spaces, the proposals require at least one chargepoint in the building. If there is a further commercial case for more EV charging points, the Government expects that businesses may choose to install more capacity (although there is no obligation to do so).

Major renovations

The proposed obligations for existing buildings link to the definition of “major renovations”. This is defined (as in Building Regulations) as a change where more than 25% of the surface area of the building envelope undergoes renovation. It is proposed to further restrict this to major renovation works that include the car park or electrical infrastructure (of the building containing the car park or the car park).

Exemptions

The consultation proposes exemptions to these requirements. These include circumstances where the installation results in a requirement for additional electrical capacity which pushes the costs of each chargepoint over £3,600. There is also an exemption from installing chargepoints as part of major renovation works if the cost of the installation is over 7% of the total renovation costs, and general exemptions for listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas.

What next?

The consultation closed on 7 October 2019 and the proposed next steps should be published by January 2020 (assuming the Government isn’t preoccupied with other matters). As legislation is on the way, landlords should consider EV requirements going forward. This isn’t just an issue of additional costs, but also practical considerations in respect of cable routing, electrical capacity and future access requirements for new-build and renovation works.

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