Building a water efficient future – actions not just words needed

A comprehensive review of Building Regulations Part G2 and enforcement practices is necessary – that’s the key message from a study to assess the compliance of new homes with Part G2 of the Building Regulations, and the enforcement practices of Building Control. 

The study focussed primarily on Welsh Building Regulations within Welsh Water’s operational area. An investigation of 80 properties (post-construction but before anyone had moved in) found the average daily per capita consumption (PCC) was 135 litres, significantly above the 110 litres they should have met.

While a small sample, a questionnaire issued to developers and Building Controllers, also found mixed knowledge of the regulations and few detailed onsite assessments taking place.

The study went on to review over 50,000 properties constructed from 2015 to 2022. While newer properties did consume less water than older ones (which were built to a 125 PCC standard) the reduction was only 8 litres PCC, whereas you would expect to see 15 litres PPC reduction.

James Lees, WRc who prepared the report said: “Given the lack of compliance observed, a comprehensive review of Building Regulations Part G2 and enforcement practices is necessary. Properties should undergo physical assessments of actual flow rates and fittings, as reliance on design specifications alone is inadequate.

“If a further tightening of standards from 110 litres  to 100 litres (PCC) or even lower were to happen in the current legislative framework and enforcement, minimal impact will be seen on actual consumption levels. This approach would be unsupportive in delivering the requirements for housing and their water efficiency in the UK.”

Read the full paper on the Waterwise database. This research was carried out thanks to funding by the Collaborative Fund which is supported by all water companies within the UK.