Building regulations - proposed changes to energy standards, etc: consultation analysis

An analysis of the responses to the 2021 public consultation on a review of building standards relating to energy standards and associated topics, including ventilation, overheating and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

8 Part 7 – Electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The Scottish Government is committed to the decarbonisation of transport and with demand for Electric Vehicles (EVs) expected to grow rapidly, enabling people to switch to zero emission vehicles, will require ready access to convenient and reliable EV charging infrastructure.

This part of the consultation sought views on the Scottish Government’s preferred policy options relating to the installation of EV charge points and enabling infrastructure (namely accessible trunking, conduits, or cable trays for electricity cabling) to facilitate the future installation of EV charge points in the car parks of residential and non-residential buildings.

8.1 Installation of electric vehicle charge points and ducting infrastructure

8.1.1 Question 51

What are your views on our policy goal to enable the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charge points and ducting infrastructure (to facilitate the future installation of EV charge points) for parking spaces in new residential and non-residential buildings parking?

In total, 108 responses to this open question were received.

Overall, respondents were supportive of the policy goal and a high proportion went on to qualify their response.

8.1.2 Cost

The cost of installing charging points and associated infrastructure was a concern for several respondents who were in broad agreement with the proposals. Points raised include:

  • Possible impacts of installing EV points (reduce parking spaces and increase charges for these spaces as well as having a knock-on effect of the cost of a property).
  • The cost of installing a charging pillar with only one single charger is not significantly different from a pillar with two chargers.
  • Extra cost associated with publicly accessible chargers.
  • Unfair to burden building owners with an infrastructure cost for services, for which they may have no need or desire.

8.1.3 Generating capacity and infrastructure

There was widespread questioning amongst many respondents of the adequacy of generating capacity and associated infrastructure to support greater usage of electric vehicles, with some respondents highlighting increased future use of electric heating as possibly exacerbating any supply issues. A voluntary organisation suggested that an analysis of the supply chain is needed to support the proposals.

8.1.4 Transport hierarchy

Concerns around a sustainable transport hierarchy were voiced by many respondents of different types.There were fears that the proposals would sustain demand for and continued growth in private car ownership, which is the lowest priority in sustainable transport hierarchies.

Alongside comments relating to sustainable transport hierarchy were concerns abut cycling. There was a general view that promotion of cycling infrastructure, particularly to support electric bikes should receive equal or greater priority to facilitating electric vehicle use, and where electric vehicle infrastructure is being installed it should be also readily accessible by e-bikes.

8.1.5 Accessibility

Several respondents expressed concerns about charging infrastructure and how easily members of the public will be able to access charging from domestic properties without dedicated off-street parking, these included:

  • Clarity is needed on how multi-level flats and dwellings with no dedicated parking space and on street parking will be managed.
  • The risk of electric shock and fire - research shows EV owners charge their vehicles dangerously using domestic multi-socket extension leads, not suitable for outdoor use, to charge from the mains in their home.
  • New residential developments which do not have dedicated parking spaces, such as terraced streets and flats, should have bays specifically for the use of charging by shared vehicles.

8.1.6 Exceptions

A few respondents who questioned whether a blanket nationwide response is appropriate, recommended a more nuanced approach taking into account Local Transport Strategies or Local Development Plans, where there are specific strategies to create places to live where there will be little need to own a private car.

8.1.7 Trip hazards

A few respondents stressed the need to ensure that provision of charging facilities do not pose trip hazards, particularly for those who are visually impaired.

8.2 Views on preferred options for EV provision

8.2.1 Question 52

What are your views on our preferred options for EV provision in new and existing buildings?

105 separate respondents gave their views on the SG preferred options for EV provision in new and existing buildings.

8.2.2 Analysis

26 responses read as variations of “no further comment” or “agree with the proposal”. 75% (or 79 respondents) provided additional views.

Overall, there was support for the preferred options but a number of areas requiring further detail were also highlighted.

Most of the concerns highlighted arose out of cost concerns, including ongoing maintenance and uncertainty over who would be liable for specific upfront and future costs. Whilst costs were viewed as significant, in new buildings, the future potential for higher costs to retrofit existing buildings was seen as a compelling reason to ensure an effective consultation process is undertaken, with clear requirements and design guidance.

Most comments sought clarifications on the requirements. It was felt that the presentation of the preferred options lacked specific definitions and detail. Many respondents requested for practical expectations of the proposal to be fully clarified, including the impact on Building Standards (where applicable) and further detail on the evidence needed to meet any requirements or exemptions.

8.2.3 Definition of “dwellings with a parking space”

Several respondents felt that additional clarity was needed on the scope of the proposal. Clarity on how the requirements differ for on-road parking, private parking facilities and communal parking (including visitor parking) was sought. Respondents noted instances where residential parking spaces were not allocated to specific properties, with the feeling of uncertainty as to whether the proposal would apply.

8.2.4 Ducting and cabling infrastructure

Several respondents asked for clarity on requirements for individual ducts to future connection points, chambers at future connection points, dedicated zones for future charge points, cabling, termination points. One respondent shared their uncertainty over the ownership and management of duct routing maps, shared duct chambers and future work.

8.2.5 Definition of major renovations

A few respondents requested further detail on how the requirements would apply to renovation work in practice and what would constitute a ‘major’ renovation.

8.2.6 Concerns and insights

Concerns and insights raised by respondents can be grouped into three key themes:

Many respondents queried electrical capacity, with most comments on this point being general in nature.

Cost was a second, predominant theme from many respondents, particularly evident in the responses from contractors and developers with concerns about the significant financial impacts.

One respondent was concerned about the blanket exemption cost because remote/rural areas of Scotland would likely incur significantly higher costs both in installation and grid reinforcement than their more metropolitan counterparts.

Professional bodies and voluntary organisations offered suggestions to overcome this, such as the use of a sliding-scale approach to costs based on the development size, so as to mitigate any viability concerns for small developments. Assurance was requested on who would pay for the electricity supply and wider grid network upgrades.

A third theme focused on user adoption. Respondents across a range of subgroups questioned the demand for EV charge points and ducting installation, some predicted scenarios of under-utilisation, particularly in rural locations.

A few respondents argued that exemptions should apply to demand in addition to cost-prohibitive circumstances. It was questioned why the proposed changes departed from the original EU directive’s requirement for ducting in 1 in 5 spaces.

The additional cost of the proposed ‘ducting 1 in 2 spaces’ requirement would be significant and it was argued that the supporting rationale for this was largely unclear to respondents.

Respondents also offered solutions to match installation costs with demand.

8.3 Exemptions as set out in 7.6.1

8.3.1 Question 53

Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s preferred options for the exemptions as set out in section 7.6.1?

In total, 90 respondents answered the yes/no question; 41 responses were provided to the accompanying open question, all from organisations. There were also an additional 15 responses in the free text answers, which declined to answer the original yes/no question. Of these, two detailed open text responses were given.

Figure 54: Exemptions as set out in 7.6.1
Over three quarters of respondents offered views on the Scottish Government’s preferred options for the exemption of EV charge facilities.

Base: 90 respondents (86 no response) NB Individual respondents are listed separately at the bottom for information - as they are included in organisation responses (per Section 2.3)

8.3.2 Analysis

The majority agreed with the proposed exemptions as set out in section 7.6.1, with 74 responses (82% of respondents) being in favour (Figure 54).

16 responses (or 18% of respondents) rejected the proposal. Of these, 15 generally provided thorough reasons and explanations as to why, along with requests for clarifications and proposing suggested exemptions.

8.3.3 Support for the proposal

Of the 74 respondents (82%) who agreed with the proposed exemption, 49 provided no further responses, 18 provided limited responses confirming their support of the proposal, and seven elaborated on their initial ‘yes’ response. The analysis below summarises the responses from those seven (who broadly agreed) who provided context for their overall agreement with the proposal, as well as concerns they raised.

The only recurrent theme amongst these seven respondents was that exemptions should be limited and narrowly defined. This would go towards encouraging developers to install EV infrastructure.

8.3.4 Not in support of the proposal

15 of the 16 respondents who rejected the Scottish Government’s preferred option for exemptions as set out in section 7.6.1 provided additional insights and opinions.

Of the 15 responses, several questioned the use of the 7% rule [Article 6 (c)], with two contending that it would be easy to find loopholes to claim the cost of infrastructure exceeding 7% of the total renovation cost. The nuances of these responses varied from a local authority requesting clarity on how the 7% rule would need to be evidenced: to an NGO respondent arguing that cost-based percentage exemptions should not be permitted if the policy goal of phasing out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 is to be taken seriously.

Clarity on the practicalities of the 7% rule was requested by a few respondents, for example, on whether the £2000 limit per home takes in to account total network reinforcement costs as well as the plot specific EV Charger unit cost and, in relation to the timing of the proposal.

A few respondents had concerns about the feasibility of grid connectivity and unsustainable pressure on local electricity networks. Grid capacity upgrades were generally felt as a barrier to feasible and affordable EV infrastructure. Consideration was recommended for where upgrade works may impact third party landowners.

Additional exemptions were suggested by respondents who rejected the proposal.

A few respondents asked for flexibility and guidance where costs were prohibitive: suggestions to remedy this included making a financial contribution towards a public charging hub. Some raised concerns about the availability of current parking bays during infrastructure works, as well as constraints of public funding to meet the requirements for public buildings.

8.4 Views on preferred option for existing non-residential buildings

8.4.1 Question 54

What are your views on how our preferred option relating to existing non-residential buildings with car parks with more than 20 spaces could be properly monitored and enforced, given that the Building (Scotland) Regulations will not apply?

69 responses were provided to this open question, although only 35 were substantive. 34 of the responses gave variations of ‘nothing further to add’ and so are not considered in the following analysis.

8.4.2 Analysis

Respondents were generally in favour of the proposal. However, whether respondents were in favour of, or against, the preferred option, the majority sought further detail on clarity on how the option would work in practice.

8.4.3 Penalties vs incentives

Discussion around money was the most recurrent theme arising from the responses. Many respondents made mention of the need for either incentives (6) or penalties (3) for uptake of the proposal. Incentives were suggested in the forms of an incentive scheme, grants, rates relief, other tax relief or general discounts. Conversely, if using penalties for enforcement, responses noted that fines needed to be acceptably high so as to act as a deterrent, from both not installing or not providing relevant and accurate information.

8.4.4 The building owners

Several respondents, of which six were Local Authorities, considered the building owners in their responses. Four were concerned that the preferred option (for buildings with more than 20 non-residential car parking spaces, 1 in every 2 non-residential parking space to have ducting installed and 1 in every 10 non-residential parking space to provide an EV charge point socket with minimum 7 kW output power rating) would be met negatively by building owners.

Two responses, both from Local Authorities, felt that the provision would be consumer-led and that upgrading of the provision serving existing buildings would be positively viewed by building owners. Incentives for business owners were proposed.

8.4.5 Questions on the monitoring and enforcing body

Several respondents explicitly stated their belief that the preferred option relating to non-residential buildings with car parks with more than 20 spaces should be enforced by Local Authorities/Council (terms are used here interchangeably).

8.4.6 Resourcing constraints

Linked to answers around enforcement was the topic of resourcing. Several responses (of which six were provided by organisations and local authorities), spoke of this. The Local Authorities all pointed out that staffing levels and workloads would make Local Authority enforcement of the preferred option prohibitive at current capacity levels. The single individual respondent proposed a dedicated local council officer to check and apply the enforcement.

8.4.7 Records or registers

Several respondents highlighted the need for some sort of record keeping would be needed for this proposal to be successful and numerous suggestions made in this regard.

8.5 Views on proposed provision for charge points for accessible parking

8.5.1 Question 55

What are your views on the proposed provision for charge points for accessible parking spaces? Do you have examples of current best practice for the provision of charge points for accessible parking spaces?

In total, 81 responses were received to this open question. In summary, respondents can be categorised into three groups:

  • 32 responses (or 40% of respondents) provided very short answers, to the effect of “no comment” or “no strong opinion”.
  • 10 responses (or 12% of respondents) provided very short answers in agreeance with the proposal. None of these respondents elaborated on this, nor did they include any best practice examples.
  • The remaining 39 responses (or 48% or respondents) provided detailed comments and was comprised of five individuals and 34 organisations. Local authorities provided more than twice as many responses as any other subgroup, with ten responses.

8.5.2 Analysis

The analysis below summarises the detailed views and insights provided by the 39 respondents (or 52% of respondents) in the third group (above).

General sentiment among respondents was positive and inclusive of various accessibility needs.

Specific examples of best practices were limited.

8.5.3 Specific requirements

Several respondents offered specific considerations to be factored into new requirements for EV charging in accessible parking spaces. Recurrent considerations included easy access to the interface (such as height suitability, and the need for non-kerbed areas), plentiful space for movement around the vehicle. It was also thought that the strength and dexterity (required to use the cable management provision) of the user should be considered.

8.5.4 Ratios

Amongst overwhelming support for the proposal, only four responses specified that the suggested ratio of 1 in 4 accessible parking spaces to have an EV charge point was suitable. Opposing views were offered from other respondents. Among these:

  • Four respondents cited support for a more ambitious 1-in-2 ratio.
  • Call for all EV charging facilities to provide sufficient and adequate space for everyone including those with accessibility needs.
  • There are very few EV drivers with disabilities due to access to charging being a major barrier.

8.5.5 Retrofitting

Three responses mentioned the challenge of retrofitting existing buildings. One who was against retrofitting accessible parking spaces at this point in time, said their opposition was due to the disruption this could cause for existing blue badge holders.

8.5.6 Legislative considerations

Considerable references to adjacent and potentially conflicting legislation were made by a few respondents.

8.6 Further comments on EV charging provision

8.6.1 Question 56

We welcome any other comments you may wish to make on EV charging provision (e.g. the minimum standard of EV charge point or safety within the built environment).

95 responses to this open question were received. With only 22 responses reading as variations of “no further comment”, 73 of the total 95 responses received gave full additional views.

8.6.2 Analysis

Four broad themes are discernible from this open response question.

8.6.3 Costs

The most recurrent theme in this additional comment question, was cost, discussed in 29 separate answers. Concerns ranged from costs associated with change to existing infrastructure, to initial equipment and install costs, to anticipated high running costs, to ongoing maintenance costs. It was also anticipated that all of these costs would likely differ between metro and rural locations, and so consideration is needed as to how to accommodate for this. The clear and discernible theme running through these responses was the lack of clarity or understanding as to what these costs would be, and who would be ultimately responsible to paying.

A recurrent issue was raised with regard to scenarios where consumers become ‘locked in’ to particular energy providers (and therefore, locked into certain bills / costs). This would be due to reliance on third party commercial companies to power the EV charge points, without the option to switch supplier.

8.6.4 Network and grid

20 respondents referenced network and grid concerns (terms were broadly used interchangeably). Potential issues raised ranged from costs for grid reinforcement and grid investment, additional grid capacity requirements due to increased reliance, and how to mitigate landscape impacts.

8.6.5 Safety

EV charge point safety was one of the most recurrent concerns that respondents discussed, with 11 making mention of it in the answers they supplied. Within the central topic of safety, there were three key themes:

  • Electrical hazards: safety and quality of both the equipment and installation thereof should be paramount, which was noted on multiple occasions throughout the responses provided. A few respondents put forth similar concerns over electrical safety. For example, finding a safe location for things such as lighting columns for EV charging units could be problematic, due to the risk of electric shock.
  • Fire hazards: Furthering the above points, it is argued that EV charge point technology should be considered under a fire risk lens.
  • Trip hazards (cables): many respondents were concerned with the potential tripping hazards that EV charge points could pose. Six of the eight specified that wires in public areas could be a trip hazard, with one charity mentioning the additional risk that this hazard could cause for people with disabilities.

8.6.6 Layout and location of EV charge points

Many respondents stated that consideration must be paid to the layout and locations of EV charge points. A lack of off-street parking in some locations would pose numerous challenges and urge moving toward communal or public charge points. According to another charity, flats account for 67% of all dwellings inhabited by Scottish residents, and it therefore crucial that those in rented and high-density accommodation have provisions for them to access EV charging infrastructure safely.

Additionally, layout changes could be needed to existing car parks in non-residential areas must be considered. These layout changes may include bay realignment, and modifications to footpaths, kerbing, and street furniture.

The number for EV charge points that should be installed was also a topic of debate. Several respondents agreed it would be beneficial for every home to have the facility for EV charging.

However, several respondents were in favour a more communal approach. They believed the location and layout of EV charge points could be used to change public behaviour, away from individual car ownership and toward less carbon intensive modes of transport, such as car sharing and the use of electrical bikes, scooters, and motorbikes. It was suggested by five respondents that the charging and parking needs of these types of modes of transport should be considered.



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