Code for Sustainable Homes

Following the technical housing standards review, the government has issued a written ministerial statement withdrawing the code for sustainable homes, aside from the management of legacy cases.

Legacy cases are:

  • Those where residential developments are legally contracted to apply a code policy (e.g. affordable housing funded through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2015 to 2018, or earlier programme).

  • Where planning permission has been granted subject to a condition stipulating discharge of a code level, and developers are not appealing the condition nor seeking to have it removed or varied.

In these instances only it is possible to continue to register code cases and conduct code assessments.

Main elements of the review

The new approach introduces optional building regulations requirements for access (volumes 1 and 2) and water efficiency which provide a higher standard than the minimum national building regulations.

Powers to introduce these optional requirements are now included in the Building Act 1984 as amended by the Deregulation Act 2015. The Statutory Instrument implementing the regulations has also been laid. The changes are explained in a building regulations circular 01/2015 and circular letter.

A nationally described space standard has been introduced which will be implemented through the planning system.

The optional regulations and space standard can only be applied where there is a local plan policy based on evidenced local need and where the viability of development is not compromised.

In addition, a new security standard has now been included in the building regulations - Part Q.

Energy/CO2 - use by the dwelling is covered by building regulations - Part L

The review also clarified statutory building regulation guidance on waste storage to ensure it is properly considered in new housing development.

The CSH was part of the UK Government’s zero carbon agenda and all new homes built from 2016 onwards are expected to zero carbon.
It also indicates the potential direction that future revisions to Part L and Part G of the Building Regulations 2000 are likely to take in terms of energy and CO2 emissions.

Responsible Sourcing is no longer included under any statutory requirement. Responsible sourcing is about improving the social, environmental and ethical standards throughout the supply chain.The concrete industry can demonstrate the highest level of responsible sourcing based on the effective management systems, the local availability of materials and well-managed supply chains. The industry was the first to launch its own guidance document, under the responsible sourcing standard developed by the BRE, BES6001: Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products.

Concrete products accredited to BES 6001 can now achieve the highest tier of responsible sourcing credits under the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Responsible sourcing will however be included in a new voluntary housing standard the Home Quality Mark.