Approved Documents F.L.O &S and the impact on new-build affordable housing

September 2023 played host to our most ambitious leadership event to date:
Approved Documents F.L.O & S and the impact on new-build affordable housing.

So why F.L.O & S?
Following significant updates to Part F and L and introduction of new Part S and O in June 2021, enforced from June 2022, we are seeing the impacts feeding through into live projects both at design and construction stage. So, we thought it would be useful to meet with our industry colleagues and to share our experiences under the new regulations.

What is FLOS?
F.LO.S is an acronym which covers four of the sixteen government published Approved Documents:

Part F (Ventilation)

Part L (Conservation of Fuel & Power)

Part O (Overheating)

Part S (Infrastructure for Electric Vehicle Charging

F.L.O.S provides a regulatory ‘toolkit’ creating a ‘level playing field’ for developers, ensuring high quality, safe living standards are delivered, and provides a roadmap to Net Zero Carbon.

What we discussed

  • Each Approved Document was discussed in detail and experiences and best practice shared.
  • All parties were agreed that due to the complexities and risk associated with compliance with the new regulations and the impact these have on building form and cost, that M&E, Part O and Part L teams need to be engaged pre-planning to help shape the building design.
  • The design sequence and early appointment of specialists, including acoustician, Part O and Part L modellers is key to avoiding delays to the project programme.
  • How can these additional pre-planning consultancy costs can be managed at a time when the project is at risk until planning has been granted ?
  • How these documents have impacted new affordable housing projects from the perspective of the Client and Client’s Agent.
  • Housing Associations are rising to the challenge of the new regulations and are keen to engage in helping developing new solutions.
  • Homes England provided strategic context for the development of affordance homes into the future and took away useful feedback from the day.

The Experts
Richard Lewis Technical & Quality Director at Davies Partnership shared an overview of FLOS & discussed Part F.

Alan Williams Electrical Associate at Davies Partnership discussed the infrastructure for Electric Vehicle charging.

Rob Buchanan Sustainability Manager at Davies Partnership gave a detailed analysis of how to comply with Part O.

Peter Kinsella Director & Energy Consultant at Base Energy Services Ltd reviewed his experiences achieving compliance under Part L 2021 including M&E strategies and building envelope design.

Simon Halliwell Director at Paddock Johnson gave his perspective on how the changes have impacted on the Architectural design process.

Stephen Jones Divisional Director Quantity Surveying at AA Projects highlighted how costs have moved over recent times due to various external pressures in conjunction with FLOS and provided a project management perspective on its impact.

Steve Alcock Director of Development & Technical at Torus gave his evaluation on how these documents have impacted new affordable housing projects from the perspective of the Client and how TORUS are actively involved in helping to develop innovative solutions for future homes.

Sharon Kenny Assistant Director, Provider Management at Homes England  delivered insight as to what support housing providers can expect as we move towards 2025 Future Homes Standard and acknowledged the challenges faced by the design and construction teams and welcomed the feedback on the day.

Main takeaways from the day

  • Having full design sign off by all consultants by the time planning is submitted, is crucial. Waiting until build stage will result in delays in planning permissions and additional cost due to revisions.
  • We must think about simplicity for end users. Some of the systems being installed are just too complex and occupiers can’t use them. Also consider having volunteers living in the communities that understand the systems to help their neighbours use them.
  • In the future Homes England will only support projects which enable sustainable homes and places, maximising their positive contribution to the natural environment and minimising their environmental impact.  To make developments more appealing, to win land and funding, it’s crucial that the requirements of FLOS are met.

The event was a roaring success (if we do say so ourselves) and the break-out discussions over a bacon sandwich with a wide range of industry colleagues topped off a great day.

A second event is planned for early 2024 covering Wales FLO Approved Documents which were released a short time after the England regulations and this will be focussed on issues specific to Wales, its approach to affordable housing and Welsh Assembly direction of travel. This event will include a Welsh translation service.

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