In recent debates, codes and regulations have been identified as highly influential in shaping urban places and architectural form (Ben-Joseph, 2005). But while there is some existing work on the impact of regulation on the work of architects in terms of stifling or encouraging design creativity (Gann et al, 1998; Imrie, 2007) and about the processes surrounding the setting of regulations (Raman and Shove, 2000), there is still a surprising neglect of the wider impact of changing regulation on the working practices of design professionals. As has been often noted, architects appear to have little influence on the setting of building regulations (Raman and Shove, 2000; Imrie, 2007), and ‘most commentators’ highlight a tendency of architects to view regulations as a burden on creativity or professional licence (Hunt and Raman, 2000). However, with global climate change increasingly linked to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere caused by the use of fossil fuels (McMichael et al, 2006; Metz et al, 2006; Stern, 2006), the built environment has become a key focus of regulatory intervention aimed at cutting carbon emissions.