New building regulations tighten energy requirements

The new building regulations (BR15) implementing parts of an EU directive about energy efficiency are expected to come into force on 1 January 2016. BR15 include a number of tightened energy requirements for buildings but also a number of formalities will be changed, including digital self-service requirements.

The most important changes in BR15

Compared to the current building regulations (BR10) the most important changes in BR15 concern the building energy requirements. In BR15 the low-energy requirements 2015 will become minimum requirements, including increased requirements for the building density, lower design transmission losses, documentation for the thermal indoor climate and restrictions in the set-off against the production of electricity. At the same time BR15 abolishes the window surface temperature requirements. The application of building class 2020 will continue to be optional.

In connection with renovation or conversion as an alternative to compliance with applicable conversion or renovation requirements under BR15 an employer may decide on a general energy frame calculation for the entire building equal to the calculation made for new buildings.

Under BR15 the Danish municipalities will in future require density measurements in at least 10% of the building projects which is twice as many as the rules to this effect in BR10.

The transition from BR10 to BR15It is expected that BR15 will apply to building permit applications or notices submitted after the regulations come into force that is expected to be on 1 January 2016 as BR10 will simultaneously be abolished. However, there will be a transition period until 30 June 2016 in which the applicant may choose that BR10 are to apply to a building permit application or a notice of building works. In such case it is important to be aware that the choice between BR10 and BR15 only apply to the following cases:

  • If the municipality receives a satisfactory application for a building permit in respect of building works covered by the building permit rules no later than 30 June 2016
  • If the municipality receives a satisfactory notice of building works covered by the notice rules no later than 30 June 2016
  • If the building works have commenced no later than on 30 June 2016 in case of building works that are not covered by the rules on the building permits or notice of building works.

After 1 July 2016 BR10 will not apply to new buildings.

The legal significance of the changes in BR15

In principle the legal framework remains unchanged and an employer continues to be liable under the general liability rules of Danish law if the building works have not been carried out under BR15. In this connection an employer should be aware that a municipality may issue a building permit even if the building regulations have not been complied with because the employer guarantees that the rules have been observed. However, the employer will be able to raise a claim against the advisor or turnkey contractor that has not - in case of errors or neglect - ensured compliance with the requirements of BR15 and the employer suffers a loss because of such non-compliance.

In case of contracts concluded up to the expiry of the transition period the employer should also decide if the building works are to be carried out under BR10 or BR15.

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