Q&A – Installing EV charging points

Kate Silverman is a partner and development & regeneration expert at Clarke Willmott LLP, a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

It is anticipated that the UK will need between 253,000 and 661,000 extra electric vehicle (EV) charging points by 2035. While Part S of the Building Regulations, which covers the infrastructure for the charging of EVs, came into force in 2022, for developers the delivery of this presents a number of challenges both in terms of construction and future management.

Do I need to provide EV Charging points for every dwelling?

No, you do not need to provide charging points for every new dwelling, but you do need to provide a charging point for each new dwelling with an associated car parking space.

This includes buildings undergoing a material change of use to create a dwelling and residential buildings undergoing major renovation which will have more than 10 car parking spaces.

What happens if the car parking spaces are in a basement car park or in an undercroft?

Currently, due to fire safety concerns, you are not required by the Building Regulations to install EV charging points in “covered spaces”, but you are required to install the cable routes for EV charging points. Insurers are concerned that if a fire develops as a result of charging issues it could spread to nearby buildings. Therefore, it is advisable to inform your insurer where you are proposing to locate EV charging points prior to installation, to avoid having to relocate them later on.

Can planning conditions go further than the Building Regulations?

Yes, it is quite possible that local planning authorities will go further than the Building Regulations. The Building Regulations are the minimum requirements.

How do I know if there is enough power for the EV charging points?

You should contact your local Distribution Network Operator to check as early as possible. If the electricity grid needs to be upgraded, the cost will need to be factored in and you may need easements and/or a new electricity substation. All that is likely to cause additional cost and delay.

How do I mitigate the risk of delay to my programme?

The question of which party is to bear the risk if the Distribution Network Operator delays works needs to be agreed at the outset. It is unlikely that a contractor would accept the risk of delays caused by a statutory undertaker because it is not something which is within their control. A contractor will probably require that extra time is given if the delay is due to the Distribution Network Operator. One solution is that the employer procures their own contractor and carries out any contestable works to give the employer more control.

Who will maintain the EV charging points once they are installed?

As part of the procurement process, you should be seeking a guarantee and warranty for the supply and installation of the EV charge points. You may also wish to appoint the supplier or a third party to maintain the EV charge points going forwards. Regardless of who is managing the charge points, it is important to make sure that you reserve rights to maintain the EV infrastructure.

How will residents pay for the infrastructure and the electricity?

There are lots of different ways of dealing with this, but typically shared infrastructure might be recovered through an estate/service charge and the electricity is commonly paid for using an app-based system.

Can you charge residents for infrastructure which they don’t currently use?

Yes, provided that is what they have agreed when they purchased or let the property. There are often facilities on estates which residents don’t use but are required to pay for, for example a person on the ground floor of a block of flats pays for the lift – this is no different.

How do you stop non-residents and their visitors from using EV Infrastructure that residents are paying for?

Typically, there will be back-office software which allows the site manager to set the tariffs and to control who can use the EV charge points. For example, Pod Point doesn’t show “private” charging points on its map.

Do I need a licence to sell the electricity to residents?

Normally, with a dedicated EV charge point you are re-selling rather than supplying electricity so you wouldn’t normally need a licence, but this needs to be checked on a site-by-site basis and you still need to be mindful of data protection, consumer legislation and in particular to make sure that pricing is transparent.

Installing EV charging infrastructure is still an emerging area, seemingly straightforward, it requires innovative thinking around risk, planning, construction and estate management. Clarke Willmott’s multi-disciplinary team brings a wealth of experience to a range of housebuilding projects.