The microgeneration of electricity, heat or cooling is becoming more popular than ever. We are seeing more and more of these installations on buildings within the District. The majority of installations are Solar Photovoltaic Panels, these produce electricity (unlike Solar Heat Panels which heat your water). The buy-in tariffs paid for the 'green' electricity produced by this method make these installations very attractive.
Building Regulations apply to the installation of this technology, the Government has a number of Competent Person Schemes in place in order to streamline the administrative and approval process. Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations 2010 details the Government's Self Certification Schemes.
Schedule 3 (17) and (20) are relevant to the installation of microgeneration of Electricity, Heat or Cooling apparatus.
Schedule 3 (17) details the Competent Person Schemes applicable to this type of work, these are listed in the leaflet below. Schedule 3 (20) states any building work which is necessary to ensure that any appliance, service or fitting which is installed and which is described in the preceding entries (in this instance 17), complies with the requirements contained within Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 2010.
We are aware that a number of the Competent Person Scheme providers exclude structure from their accreditation scheme. This should not be the case, structure is included in Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 2010. Essentially, this means that installers certified by these bodies are not accredited to do work on the existing structure.
In order to safeguard its residents, we are seeking applications for this work. We are concerned that existing roof structures may not be adequate to take the increase in loading associated with this type of installation. This applies to modern roof types as well as older forms of roof construction. Roofs are designed to take a calculated loading, an increase the loading could lead to issues with the structure. As part of the application we ask for a Surveyor's or Engineer's report on the existing roof structure. The report is needed to prove that the roof remains structurally sound with the increased load from the PV or Solar Panel installation.
Recently NAPIT, ELECSA and NICEIC have confirmed that their schemes are inclusive of structure, therefore applications are not required from installers registered with these bodies.
National Local Authority Building Control have issued guidance relating to the retro-fitting of Solar and PV Panels.
For an overview see competent persons schemes on GOV.UK.