Housing Standards and Building Regulations

Changes to Housing Standards

Housing standards will now be included in Building regulations. In order to make the system easier to understand and follow, securing housing standards so that all the requirements are in one place, it will include optional building regulations that will only apply when needed. It will also include water efficiency, where different standards could apply for water shortages' areas, and accessibility, where standards could differ for homes for the elderly and disabled. The government will also develop a national housing space standard available to councils where it is needed and where it will not hinder development. This will replace the range of space standards currently demanded by councils. Housebuilders will no longer be required to get homes checked by several different organisations like it has been the case up to now ( the planning authority, a Code for Sustainable Homes assessor, a Building Control organisation, the Homes and Communities Agency and independent standard assessors).

What is the Code for Sustainable homes?

The Code for Sustainable Homes, which is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes, will be consolidated into the government’s building regulations. These new standards should be delivered by May 2015. As we understand, the Code for Sustainable Homes will be wound down nevertheless Building Regulations and other protections are intended to maintain carbon reduction and environmental targets. In total the measures will reduce 100 standards to fewer than 10 so it should save developers and councils both time and money. The changes include:
  • Optional building regulations for developments being built in their areas , councils will decide whether certain regulations apply. This will include water efficiency in areas facing water shortage, and accessibility for older people and wheelchair users.
  • Space standards: a a single, national space standard for councils is being developed. To use the standard, councils will need to justify its application according to evidence needs and subject to local plan viability testing.
  • Security: a new standard for security in new homes, based on industry best practice will be applied either nationally or on the basis of local need, and based on evidence of cost-effectiveness.
  • Energy: Minimum energy efficiency standards will be set through national building regulations, therefore councils will no longer be able to impose local targets for energy efficiency.
  • Checking compliance: Building control bodies will be the point for assessment of regulatory requirements; housebuilders will no longer need to have work checked by others, eg, planning authority, Code for Sustainable Homes assessor, Homes and Communities Agency.