Building regulations do not apply to mobile homes, park homes and static caravans. Instead, they are subject to thermal performance requirements. Here we will explain what the rules and regulations are.
Park homes can be difficult to heat. They typically have thin, single skin walls and cannot be easily insulated to the same level as traditionally constructed dwellings. Whilst modern versions can be relatively well insulated, with double glazing and energy-efficient boilers, the majority are more likely to be older and built to minimum standards.
Most static caravans are built in accordance with BS EN 1647: 2012
. This standard outlines that static caravans are only recommended for summer use as temporary or seasonal accommodation and not suitable for permanent residence.
BS 3632: 2015
sets insulation levels that ensure new park homes are “built and insulated to a standard that will mean they are comfortable for use all year round”. In reality, residents of existing park homes tend to have a high incidence of fuel poverty with high fuel costs and comparatively poor energy efficiency.
The current provisions for insulation and thermal performance standards in BS 3632: 2015 are significantly below that set by current building regulations for new dwellings.
The external walls, floor and roof, excluding any door and window openings, are required to achieve U-values that do not exceed:
• 0.35 W/m²·K for walls;
• 0.35 W/m²·K for the floor;
• 0.2 W/m²·K for the roof; and
• a U-value no greater than 1.6 W/m²·K for windows and doors.
It is permissible for a wall, floor or roof to have a higher U-value than the values specified above, providing the average overall U-value is achieved. No individual U-value should exceed 0.6 W/m²·K.
71,000 park homes are estimated to be occupied. Even if all park homes were built to either standard stated above, they would be costly to heat. However, it is more likely that many older homes do not even meet these standards.
Upgrading existing park homes
There isn’t a retrofit standard for park homes at this time and securing finance to improve them can be difficult.
Park homes don’t need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for re-sale or rental purposes, but an EPC can be lodged in England & Wales for Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
purposes, providing it’s produced in accordance with BRE’s guidance document
Existing energy efficiency performance of park homes is often very poor. With limited fuel types available on sites, bottled gas is the typical means of heating most park homes. The associated costs and carbon emissions from such heating measures is usually high. A combination of high heating demand and high heating costs often results in an associated high likelihood of occupants living in fuel poverty.
Currently, the cheapest, most effective and preferred method of improving the energy efficiency of a park home is to install external cladding. This can dramatically increase insulation levels, and significantly reduce heat demand, providing significant cost savings for occupiers. Cladding can also be relatively cheap and easy to install. There is also potential for improving the fire performance of the structure when installing cladding.
Whilst external cladding will modestly increase the external dimensions, there is guidance from Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
to state that this will not usually have significant impacts on sites overall. So, there is definitely scope (with a site owner’s permission) for these works to be undertaken and doing so can drastically improve the standard of living for the occupants, giving financial and health benefits, alongside environmental benefits.