Dear Claire- Winter 2020

15 / 01 / 2020

Perplexed by property law? Relax, Solicitor Claire Haynes is here to answer your most pressing questions…

Q: 

I am a developer at the planning stage of my next mixed-use development project.

I am trying to future-proof the development as much as possible for new technology and sustainability issues as retro-fitting can be inconvenient and expensive.

A contact has mentioned that I should ensure there are sufficient electric vehicle (EV) charging points as this is a government hot topic at the moment.

What are the requirements for my development?

A:

I think you are right to consider the installation of EV charging points for your new development. In 2018 the government published its Road to Zero strategy which set out its mission for all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040. In July 2019 government issued a consultation proposing to mandate the provision of EV charging points in both residential and non-residential buildings. The consultation stems from the government commitment to implement the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive into English law. The Directive establishes minimum requirements for EV charging infrastructure in new and existing buildings. There is also a separate government consultation regarding the installation of EV smart chargepoints which encourage off-peak charging when demand for electricity is low and to keep consumer costs down.

As your development will be mixed-use I expect that it will have elements of residential and commercial space. As such you will need to consider the proposals relating to the provision of EV charging points for both residential and commercial accommodation as they are both likely to be relevant to your development.

The current proposal is that every new residential dwelling with a car parking space is to have at least one EV chargepoint and cable routes for EV chargepoints in every space, so that it is easier to install chargepoints in the future. This means that if there is a multi-dwelling building comprised of 50 flats, 25 of which have an associated car parking space, the total number of EV chargepoints required will be at least 25. A residential building undergoing major renovation with more than 10 car parking spaces is to have cable routes for EV chargepoints in every car parking space.

The consultation also proposes that a new commercial building or a commercial building under major renovation with more than 10 car parking spaces is to have one EV chargepoint and cable routes for 20% of spaces. It is proposed that existing commercial buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces should have at least one EV chargepoint by 2025 and so this issue is also relevant to existing developments.

It is likely that the mandatory quotas for new buildings and major renovation projects will be enforced through Building Regulations. The quotas apply where car parking spaces are located within the site boundary of the building. Exemptions to the proposals are being considered which include cost and power supply factors.

Government estimates are that to retrofit EV chargepoints could cost £5,000 in an average existing commercial car park compared with £1,100 for a new commercial building. As a result there will be cost savings as well as the associated merits of dealing with this issue upfront as part of your development.

If your development is large-scale the proposals could necessitate an additional or new power supply to the car park. If you plan to install ‘fast charge’ points of the type located at shopping centres and service stations, they can require a higher power capacity than other types of chargepoints. Current government proposals specify a minimum 7 kW chargepoint for both residential and commercial buildings which would enable overnight charging, but fast charge points are likely to require power of at least 50 kW for a quick charge. 

In a multi-let building, fairly apportioning the use of the EV chargepoints and invoicing for the power supply may present challenges if the issue is not considered at the outset when establishing the service charge regime.

As the use of EVs grows, EV chargepoint allocation and requests for enforceable rights to use the chargepoints will no doubt become commonplace.