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Considering ways to futureproof the site can help save time, money and resources. Potential futureproofing options are as follows:

Sizing the power connection to meet future needs

DNOs have highlighted that it’s more time and cost efficient to request a connection size that meets future demand at the development stage, rather than trying to upgrade later. The process of applying for an upgrade can be costly. This approach does however need to be weighed against the additional capacity charges associated with having a larger connection to the site.

Passive provision

This is the idea of installing larger/wider infrastructure underground than is initially required so that additional cabling, or above ground units, can easily be installed at a later stage to upgrade the site. This approach is beneficial as it avoids the need for costly civil works (for example, digging and trenching) after the initial site development. The strategy allows chargepoints to be installed in phases as electric vehicle uptake and demand grows.

A consultation launched in July 2021 on the topic of proposed changes to the Scottish Building Regulations (specifically Part 7 – electric vehicle charging infrastructure) made reference to requirements for chargepoint sockets (active provision) and ducting (passive provision) at residential and non-residential developments. The consultation response report “electric vehicle chargepoints for new buildings” was published by Transport Scotland in August 2022.

The latest building standards technical handbooks, for use from 5th June 2023, see the introduction of new standard 7.2 (electric vehicle charging) within Section 7 (sustainability). You can access these handbooks on the Scottish Government website.

Policies taken forward from the consultation include active and passive provision requirements for new and major renovations of residential buildings; and for new and major renovations of non-residential buildings. For these non-residential categories, for car parks of 10+ spaces, enabling infrastructure must be laid (passive provision) for 50% of spaces, and not less than 1 in 10 spaces should have access to a chargepoint socket, with an output rating of 7kW as a minimum when in simultaneous use. There are specific exemptions if the cost of install exceeds certain thresholds and if the building has a covered car park.

The policy proposed for existing non-residential buildings has not been taken forward and hence there is no specific requirement for provision of electric vehicle charging at these locations.

Universal ground mounting solutions

Several commercial solutions are now available that enable a faster initial install, without the need for concrete curing. These solutions also allow units to be easily decommissioned and replaced with alternative versions.

Above ground cabling solutions

Some companies offer portable chargepoint installations that can provide charging capacity without the need for civil works that “break ground.” These solutions can come with on-board renewable and storage capacity and may therefore be suitable for events, or for testing demand over a given time period before committing to a more permanent solution.

Coordinating chargepoint installs with other civil works

It may also be possible for local authorities to improve the efficiency of chargepoint projects by coordinating the installation of cabling infrastructure with other planned infrastructure projects. For example, chargepoint cables could be laid at the same time as completing road resurfacing, broadband installation, or water and gas mains pipe maintenance. This approach would also minimise disruption to residents by reducing the number of times that roads are closed to traffic.