These two new best practice sections will help social landlords to maintain quality homes in an increasingly challenging economic environment. The Compliance Section has a set of topical guides summarising social landlords’ responsibilities for meeting essential statutory health and safety requirements and explain how to do this economically and efficiently. The Fuel Saving Section explains how to include a fuel saving strategy as a key aspect of an organisation’s business plan. The Guide then sets out how to develop a practical improvement strategy as an integral part of the asset management programme and how to successfully deliver the improvements and manage the risks. There are also best practice training courses which relate to this guide.
The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 came into force from 18 December 2014 but with certain regulations coming into force later. They were amended in March 2015. The Government has also published guidance to compliance and enforcement of the legislation.
The main requirements relating to existing communal heating schemes are a duty to:
Notify (regulation 3) heat network operators should supply specific information to the regulator for each district heat network or communal heating. This should be supplied by 30 April 2015 or when heating first operated
Install meters (regulation 4) or heat cost allocators, thermostatic radiator valves and hot water meters (regulation 6) for each final customer but only where this is cost-effective and technically possible
Install meters (regulation 7) when major refurbishment undertaken (defined by the regulations as total cost is higher than 25% of the value of the building)
Provide accurate bills (regulation 9) based on actual consumption unless it is not cost-effective and technically possible
The European Commission is currently developing tools to assess the cost-effectiveness of individual heat metering. As a consequence the Government has updated its guidance (see above) advising that no further assessments need be carried out and that the requirement to retrofit heat meters will not be enforced until the new tools are available.
The legislation is enforced in the UK by the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO). There are specific requirements where the majority of customers are in Scotland.
Landlords need to ensure that the combustion appliances installed in their properties are adequately and regularly serviced and maintained and that flues are operating safely. They also need to comply with the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations.
The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) produces guidance to help protect district or communal heating customers and to promote good practice to heat network designers, installers and operators. It has worked with CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) to publish the Heat Networks: Code of Practice for the UK. While this Code is intended for the design and commissioning of new schemes, there is extensive guidance on operation and maintenance as well as customer expectations and obligations.