27 Jun 2024

In 2025, major changes are coming to the heat network sector, with the new regulations set to have a huge impact on the design, operation, and management of heat networks across the UK. Whitecode Consulting’s Managing Director Alex Hill underlines the importance of these new regulations and why building owners and managing agents need to seek independent advice to ensure their heat networks comply.

In 2025, major changes are coming to the heat network sector, with the new regulations set to have a huge impact on the design, operation, and management of heat networks across the UK. Whitecode Consulting’s Managing Director Alex Hill underlines the importance of these new regulations and why building owners and managing agents need to seek independent advice to ensure their heat networks comply.

The Heat Network Technical Assurance Scheme (HNTAS), will require all new-build heat networks, and existing legacy networks, to meet minimum technical standards and key performance indicators, such as efficient water flow temperatures and pipe insulation. Those that do will gain Heat Network Certification.

Too often, there is little transparency when it comes to heat network performance. These regulations are set to change that while strengthening accountability for anyone involved in the planning, construction, management and maintenance of heat networks.

By developing the HNTAS and ensuring a minimum level of performance and reliability, low-emissions and reliable and affordable heat can be delivered to UK communities via heat networks.

How HNTAS will work

Under the new HNTAS regulations, both new and legacy heat networks will be required to demonstrate that they have achieved the mandated minimum technical standards.

As the regulator, Ofgem will award a licence to a technical standards Code Manager. They will maintain the code documents, including any technical specification for what the heat networks must comply with, assurance procedures for how compliance is demonstrated, and assessor requirements on who can assess compliance.

A pilot programme for the HNTAS is planned for the second half of 2024, with the government likely to ask existing heat network operators and assessors to take part. Engagement throughout this programme will enable the government and Ofgem to ensure the requirements and assurance procedures work in practice.

Why the regulations are being brought in

It can often be the situation that well-intentioned contractors and managing agents muddle through the management of heat networks and aren’t fully aware of the necessity to maintain efficiency. Indeed, in the past, heat networks have been judged only by whether they are operational or not.

These new heat network regulations are being brought in to ensure that consumers are given greater protection, such as compensation if they lose access to heating, and better access to more reliable and energy efficient heat networks.

Boosting consumer protections to keep pace with a growing market, the new regulations will give customers similar rights to those living on traditional electricity and gas connections. Furthermore, vulnerable customers, such as the elderly or those living with health conditions, may have access to increased protections.

It’s therefore absolutely imperative that anyone responsible for the monitoring and management of heat networks, such as managing agents, considers the efficiency of the network, not just whether it works or not.

What the regulations mean for those responsible

The new regulation changes will have a significant impact on not only the owners of the heat network but also building contractors and property owners.

For instance, heat network owners, or building owners with a heat network, will likely become the regulated party, meaning they will need to comply with any legally binding duties relating to the operation, management, and reporting of the heat network. Additionally, information on the efficiency of the network and how energy tariffs are calculated will need to be provided.

There are many building owners that don’t have planned maintenance contracts, meaning they’re more reactive than proactive when it comes to issues with their heat networks. This exacerbates the need for efficiency of the network to be written into the contract, especially with the new regulation changes coming into effect next year.

The new regulations will also give building users and tenants the ability to look into what legislation is in place and whether the owners of the building are complying. With that in mind, it’s important that anyone responsible for the heat network is prioritising the maintenance and governance of the network. Not only will doing so help them comply with the regulations, it will also help ensure a more reliable and affordable supply of heat for the occupants.

Seeking advice and guidance is imperative

It's worth considering the implications if the owner of the network refuses to make the necessary changes or they cannot afford the costs of doing so. Similarly, if the responsibility for the management of the network sits between different parties, who will need to ensure compliance?

Waiting until the regulations come into effect to identify responsibility and make the required changes is not an option. Indeed, non-compliance could mean potential sanctions from Ofgem, alongside penalties and damaged reputation.

For building owners and anyone responsible for the management of heat networks, it’s important that whenever there is grey, such as in the assessment of heat networks, they seek advice from experienced professionals. For instance, consultants will be able to assess the network and identify what will not comply with the regulations before providing guidance on how compliance can be achieved.

As one of the UK’s leading MEP consultancy firms, Whitecode Consulting can provide comprehensive heat network plans, identifying defects and any compliance issues before providing trusted guidance on how to find the solution.

Technical Director Jason Tramantano is a certified CIBSE Heat Network Consultant and is on CIBSE’s new heat networks consultants register. Whitecode Consulting was one of the first companies to specialise in this – in fact, it’s an award-winning CIBSE heat network designer and consultant.

Improving education on how heat networks work and how they are maintained will also go a long way towards ensuring better network efficiency and full compliance for building owners and managing agents. It will also reduce the lack of understanding and current skills gap being seen in the industry, with some heat network installations not being carried out properly due to engineers not being familiar with the regulations.

Multiple benefits for tenants

Under the current regulations, there is much less protection for consumers. For instance, even if tenants initially take out a very affordable and reasonable energy tariff, if the heat network is not working efficiently, that cost will soon mount up.

With the government aiming to increase the amount of heat from heat networks to as much as 20% by 2050, the new regulations will not only set certain technical standards, they’ll also provide consumer protections for customers.

Seeing much more performance-based assessments, the HNTAS will enable efficiency to be better monitored and managed. Consequently, any heat networks not currently performing efficiently can be updated and improved to meet the strict regulations.

As a result, the end users will have more flexibility and choice when it comes to choosing their energy tariff and, ultimately, the opportunity to reduce their energy consumption and their expenditure.

Ultimately, tenants and building occupants are the biggest winners when it comes to these new regulations. They’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that they’re paying a fair price for their heating because their heat network is working efficiently.

With the HNTAS regulations set to be introduced in 2025, now is the time for building owners and anyone responsible for heat networks to act and ensure their systems are ready to meet the upcoming technical standards. Doing so will not only help to manage costs and set realistic tariffs but also make buildings more attractive to existing and future tenants.



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  • ISO 45001
  • ISO 14001
  • ISO 9001
  • CIBSE Heat Networks Consultant