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CCC Calls For New Building Regulations To Cope With Non-Existent Heatwaves

September 18, 2017

By Paul Homewood




Reader HotScot left this comment the other day about UK Building Regulations.

But it seems that John Gummer’s Committee on Climate Change wants to push matters even further, as the Planning and Building Control Today website spells out:


The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has called on the government to amend building regulations to ensure homes, hospitals and schools do not overheat.

A new regulation was put forward in 2015 by the CCC relating to this issue; however, ministers rejected the idea, not wishing to add more red tape for homebuilders.

Now, the CCC has warned people could be at risk if action is not taken. According to the organisation, the number of deaths due to heat waves is set to more than triple by 2040. With 7,000 deaths a year expected to be attributed to deadly heatwaves, the CCC is calling on the government to act now.

Changes must be made

Lord Deben, chair of the CCC and a former Conservative environment secretary said: “What we need from government is a willingness to accept that building regulations, properly done, are not an incubus [problem] – they are in fact an opportunity to enable people to build for the future.

“It is absolutely essential to recognise that we will not deal with the problems of climate change unless we have tougher building regulations,” he said.

“The government has a real opportunity to do that as it is going to have to look at its building regulations in any case because of the tragic events [of the Grenfell Tower fire] and I think it is very important that they should take the opportunity to look at them in this wider sense.”

The CCC’s head of adaptation, Daniel Johns, said more needed to be done to prevent problems in the future.

“We said [in 2015] there is a compelling case for a new building standard to avoid new homes overheating. But [the government] response said there was clearly a trade-off here and they were also mindful of burdens on developers,” Johns commented.

“So this is an area where they consider the potential small additional cost that could be borne by developers and what that might mean for the price of houses, being traded off against the potential long term cost for people occupying these properties in the hotter summers and heatwaves in years to come.”

Vulnerable people at risk

Older people are more likely to suffer during the hot weather. As such, hospitals and care homes were among the facilities identified by the CCC as particularly vulnerable. Schools and prisons were also flagged.

Lord Deben said air conditioning did not provide a solution, rather the way in which homes and buildings are built is more important.

He said: “If buildings are properly built in this country there is very little need for air conditioning. The problem with air conditioning is that it heats the area round about, so it has a disadvantage for the community as a whole. It’s a constant pushing out of hot air.”

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UK Green Building Council, said: “Clearly, there is a risk that our building regulations are no longer fit for purpose without robust protections against overheating.”

A study earlier in the year suggested overheating in building was becoming an issue. Loughborough University’s School of Civil and Building Engineering revealed research that showed the issue to be particularly endemic in new homes.


PBC also reported on that Loughborough study referred to back in January. It turns out that it is building regulations designed to reduce heat loss which are the problem:


A new study has revealed overheating in homes is a growing problem because of modern building standards.

According to the research some buildings are so hot they are considered to be potentially lethal in the summer months.

In the UK it is uncommon for domestic properties to use air conditioning or comfort cooling, but there remains a focus on heat retention.

Research reveals overheating risk

Now, new research from Loughborough University’s School of Civil and Building Engineering has revealed overheating is a growing issue, particularly in new homes. This can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of occupants, in some cases even leading to premature mortality.

The report from Kevin J Lomas and Stephen M Porritt is set to be debated at the end of the month by built environment think tank Edge.

No provision for controlling ventilation

Building regulations currently aim to reduce heat loss in the cold weather, but ventilation is not considered to control overheating in the warm weather.

Modern building regulations have seen the average heat loss of housing stock fall by 23 per cent since 1970. Yet, more than 10 per cent of households across England were declared as being in fuel poverty in 2014, with some 43,900 deaths across England and Wales in 2014/15 due to the cold indoor temperatures.

Mortality due to overheating is far less common, with only 2,000 excess deaths in England during the 10-day 2003 European heatwave. 


Meanwhile the UK climate stubbornly refuses to conform to Mr Gummer’s forecast that heatwaves will get worse:



  1. Ian Magness permalink
    September 18, 2017 6:19 pm

    The Climate Change Committee? “It’s a constant pushing out of hot air.” Spot on Gummer.
    “going to have to look at its building regulations in any case because of the tragic events [of the Grenfell Tower fire]”
    Spot on again Gummer – try telling the relatives of the dead and maimed about the joys of insulation. And perhaps you could tell us just what part your green building regs played in that fire.

  2. Curious George permalink
    September 18, 2017 7:38 pm

    “7,000 deaths a year expected to be attributed to deadly heatwaves”. What is that expectation based on? Do we have data for 2000-2017?

    • Ian Magness permalink
      September 18, 2017 7:49 pm

      …only of cladded tower blocks George…
      It’s OK, we’re now going to pretend that the cladding was unnecessary from now on anyway due to excessive global warming. So, take it all off now and allow ventilation for those blistering, deadly heatwaves that we have for 6 or more months of the year now.
      What a fiasco.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        September 18, 2017 8:40 pm

        The planning permission application for Grenfell did consider measures to handle insolation, which residents had complained about.

        The existing window U-value is in the
        order of 5.5 W/m2.K or about three times that above the level
        required by current Building Regulations. In addition to the poor
        thermal performance these windows also leak heavily which
        contributes to excessive heat loss, drafts and noise penetration.

        Windows 2.0 (building standard W/m^2) 1.6 (proposed windows W/m^2) 20 % better than standard

        The design of ventilation and window options for Grenfell Tower
        was driven primarily by four key requirements;
        1. Prevention of summertime overheating as a result of
        increased insulation incorporated within the cladding
        2. Comply with Building Regulations
        3. Ability for the windows to be cleaned from inside the
        dwellings by residents.
        4. 100 mm restriction on window opening aperture desired
        by client for safety reasons and to address anti-social
        behaviour of residents throwing items from the windows.

        They rejected the use of solar control glass supposedly because it didn’t let in enough light. Looks like heat won out over light – and forget about cooling.

  3. HotScot permalink
    September 18, 2017 7:47 pm

    I should have done some more homework. Well done Paul, great research.

    And one of the reasons we’re building an insulated extension onto our solid 9″ Victorian masonry cottage, is because for 30 years the summer sun has been toasting the exterior during the day, then radiating all that heat into the house at night. Mmmmmmm…….hot and sticky.

    More to the point, if anything, it’s not as bad now, as when we first bought the place.

    What’s more, in the early 90’s we had to mow our 30M long garden, perhaps, once a week but could leave it longer. And in the depths of summer, it was to dry to bother. Today, we frequently cut the grass twice a week in June/July and August.

    The garden foliage, including a Ewe tree which was here when we bought the place, was a shoulder high bush you could almost embrace. It has grown over the last ten years or so, into a 10 foot high monster that’s probably 15′ circumference.

    Anecdotal I know, but interesting.

    And unless I’m completely misinterpreting climate change predictions, even by the most barmy alarmists, the ststement of 6C of summer warming by 2080 seems contradictory as my understanding is that most NH heating will be at night and during winter, rather than summer daytime. Which rings true as our winters are now incredible mild compared to my youth in the 70’s (albeit in Scotland, but even there its mild) and summers possibly slightly cooler. Except for, of course, the inevitable ‘hottest evah’ day now and then.

    However, in my own un-scientific way, Ill look forward to global cooling starting around 2019 for 50 years or so. No doubt the alarmists will maintain it’s because their efforts have stopped AGW in its tracks, until of course the planet cools by a couple of degrees.

    Not that there’s the political will to keep the meme going for much longer. I think the whole thing will fizzle out in the next 5 years or so. Politicians are becoming bored with it.

    Not that I won’t sell my house with great fanfare about insulating it against impending global warming to any prospective buyer, just to add a little icing on the cake, and bump up the price a bit. I’ll even install a trendy log burning stove for the gullible, but I won’t be using the disgusting thing.

  4. September 18, 2017 8:16 pm

    We know that one report doesn’t make science. but some people will jump on this
    Telegraph :
    Claire Perry Climate minister ‘all those clever green programs we’ve done have cured our CC problem,’
    Met Office ‘and anyway it wasn’t as bad we thought’

    From the comments :
    \\I wonder if the author read the quoted paper? From the abstract:
    “Hence, limiting warming to 1.5°C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation.”//

    • September 18, 2017 8:50 pm

      Actual quotes
      Claim 1 #1Met Office announced that a “slowdown” in the rate of global temperature rises reported over roughly the first decade of this century was now over.
      The organisation said the slowdown in rising air temperatures between 1999 and 2014 happened as a result of a natural cycle in the Pacific, which led to the ocean circulation speeding up, causing it to pull heat down in the deeper ocean away from the atmosphere.

      Claim #2 Claire Perry, the climate change and industry minister, claimed Britain had already demonstrated that tackling climate change and running a strong economy could go “hand in hand”.

      • dave permalink
        September 19, 2017 7:45 am

        “…pull heat down…”

        Pull the other leg.

      • dave permalink
        September 19, 2017 7:51 am

        According to the late Professor Grey, there is a natural cycle in the strength of the ocean’s over-turning – but it is approximately a 60 year cycle and the cycle will NOT have changed back yet.

        We will know a little more after the (coming?) La Nina.

        All this is, of course, literally of academic interest.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    September 18, 2017 8:36 pm

    Perhaps we should all live in traditional cathedrals?

    1-metre thick walls; small window-area; 20m ceiling.

    Massive thermal inertia, cool in summer.

    For avoidance of doubt: /sarc

  6. J Martin permalink
    September 18, 2017 9:01 pm

    Presumably Gummer Deben isn’t aware that windows in houses can usually be opened to provide ventilation.

    • September 18, 2017 9:39 pm

      I like to keep a couple of large electric fans handy to cope with those humid evenings when the wind drops to nothing, though soon the electricity will drop to nothing in those circumstances.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 19, 2017 10:58 am

        Yes, I have 2 18″ fans to blow the air through my roof space bedroom. Works well if the air temp drops but if it stays warm, less so. There is a certain amount of reheating from the roof fabric once they are off.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      September 19, 2017 11:32 am

      “Presumably Gummer Deben isn’t aware that windows in houses can usually be opened to provide ventilation”

      Not in a “Passivhaus” they’re not. Apparently you can’t even have a letter box in the front door, because of the heat loss…

  7. Ben Vorlich permalink
    September 18, 2017 9:04 pm

    Can someone please explain the numbers to me. UKCIP 3.28 says average temperatures will increase by 2-3.5’C and summer temperatures will increase by twice the winter increase, according to the above extract 6’C.
    So far so good, or not, a 6’C summer increase at roughly twice the winter increase gives a winter increase of 2.5-3’C for winter. So the only way an average of 2.5-3’C increase is possible is for there to be a drop in averages for Spring and/or Autumn.

    My back of an envelope calculation for 6’C summer at twice winter gives an average increase of about 4.5’C annually. So where I am going wrong?

  8. AndyG55 permalink
    September 18, 2017 9:29 pm

    If Gummer wants to do something…. start by looking at what kick-backs he will receive.

  9. roger permalink
    September 18, 2017 9:41 pm

    Future generations will die laughing at the hubristic nonsense spouted by these idiots.

  10. Richard111 permalink
    September 19, 2017 7:12 am

    Hope the local council does not declare my retirement home ‘unfit’. I built it twelve years ago with Beco Wallform and Jablite roof panels for excellent all round insulation. When outside temperatures start dropping below 5C only need to run the underfloor heating for an hour in the morning and have a nice warm house all evening.
    Have never believed in CO2 AGW. BBC weather is reporting ground frosts in September!
    The cold is coming.

    • dave permalink
      September 19, 2017 8:48 am

      Definitely on the up, in this year’s refreeze; exemplification of “the new normal”:

      • September 19, 2017 11:12 am

        That dark blue line 2015, that sudden uptick in August looks suspicious, as if the instruments had been recalibrated at that time.
        Either way I take such measurements as approximates rather than precise truth,

      • dave permalink
        September 19, 2017 12:27 pm

        Indeed, this is a calculation more than a direct measurement – but it supports my view; so I like it!

      • dave permalink
        September 19, 2017 12:32 pm

        As I posted here at the end of the comments:

        There are at least six independent analyses; and so the main picture is always clear enough.

  11. dave permalink
    September 19, 2017 9:07 am

    During the Black Death the flagellants were groups of people who wandered around whipping themselves and others in the belief, that the plague was a punishment from God and He would be appeased by running blood.

    What are the differences from CAGW? One is that the “plague” is sort-of-hidden, or “in the near future,” and inferred rather than observed. Another is that Gaia is standing in for God, nowadays. A key difference is that “climate warriors” only wish to whip other people; they have already done their bit by recycling tin cans.

  12. CradleyJohn permalink
    September 19, 2017 9:11 am

    Grenfell was the inevitable result of complying with Building Regulations in respect to energy loss; the cost of which could never be recovered by reduced energy bills. Regulations imposed by the ‘green’ brigade with no thought to the economic payback of complying. To bring my last house, a three storey Victorian solid wall building, up to current thermal standards would have cost somewhere in excess of £40,000 for, being in a conservation area, all such modifications would have had to be on the inside. With an annul heating bill well below £1,500 the saving would not have even paid the interest on the loan to carry out the work let alone recovering the original investment.

  13. September 19, 2017 9:38 am

    ‘the number of deaths due to heat waves is set to more than triple by 2040’

    3 * 0 = 0

  14. Gerry, England permalink
    September 19, 2017 11:06 am

    And there is one very important point missing and which Gummer probably doesn’t know since knowledge is limited in politicians – we do NOT control our building regulations. Building regulations have been an ‘occupied area’ as the EU term it since the 90s. The Grenfell Tower inquiry will I hope show this and explain how system testing is NOT mandatory for cladding but component approval is. A similar fire in Lanarkshire prompted a change in the British Standard in 2000 to include a system test but the Labour government of time, with Prescott and John (they are murderers) McDonnell in charge of making an application to the EU to get the Building Regs changed – except that they did nothing.

    So the good news is that Gummer’s crazed idea will go nowhere as there is no point trying to change the regs now and after Brexit it won’t be anywhere near the top of the list given all the other things needed.

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