Housing Standards Review: Just doing the bare minimum?

The housing standards review consultation response has been published and it is clear that the Code, in its current form at the least, is no more…

The consultation proposals effectively propose scrapping most of Local Authority’s ability to require more to be done as planning requirements;  only those standards emerging from the review process may be used in the future. Elements of the Code will be rolled into their various associated Approved Documents;  some optional ‘go further’ standards will be introduced  for accessibility, security, water efficiency and space; everything else has been axed.

The ministerial statement notes:

“In the light of this, the Government thinks that the current Code will need to be wound down to coincide with the changes incorporating the new standards coming into force. The Government will make further announcements on the transitional arrangements, and the handling of legacy developments being built out to current Code requirements.”

Going further for Energy Efficiency is not amongst these optional considerations; Part L of the Building Regulations will be the only permissable planning requirement, with no local higher standards targets permitted to Local Authorities.

Unless a new version of the Code emerges, or industry responds with an alternative to show that their developments are constructed to a higher level of sustainability ‘above and beyond’ regulatory compliance, this sadly may mean that ‘doing the minimum’ will become the norm.

On a positive note at least, the Government is still apparently committed to implementing the zero carbon requirement for new homes from 2016;  strengthening the energy performance requirements in Part L.

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Jon Ducker is a qualified energy assessor working for Kingspan Insulation Ltd. He has an extensive knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy systems and sustainability in buildings with an expert knowledge of the relevant sections of buildings regulations and standards and their interactions with SAP. He provides authoritative advice regarding energy assessments for a wide range of public and private sector clients.

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