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It’s official: goodbye Code for Sustainable Homes


The government has officially put an end to eco-housing yardstick, the Code for Sustainable Homes

The move, part of a radical shake-up of housing standards given Royal Assent on Friday (27 March), will mean planners can no longer demand a Code Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 as a planning condition for residential developments.

The abolition of the energy standard for homes comes in response to the Housing Standards Review consultation and forms part of the government’s wider mission to slash housing regulations by 90 per cent.

All energy requirements for homes will now be contained within the Building Regulations which are set to be ramped up to a minimum equivalent to Code Level 4.

Legacy cases and developments already in the planning system may continue to use the code, and the BRE – which is responsible for assessing compliance with the standard – has said it will continue to certify schemes.

Gwyn Roberts, who is responsible for Housing Standards at BRE, said: ‘The code has been a catalyst for significant positive change in house building – it created a step change in standards, knowledge, products and skills within the sector. 

The code hasn’t resonated with consumers

‘However, the code as a Government standard, hasn’t resonated with consumers as this is key to really driving the market further forward. BRE is now working with the industry to do this.’



Readers' comments (4)

  • This is a real step backwards. Councils such as Woking require Code 5 for new developments, and rightly so. Statutory regulation compliance is the only tool we have as architects that cannot be value engineered out by developers. If Building Regs are only pushing for the equivalent of Code 4 then the volume developments will be designed to meet just that - hugely disappointing.

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  • Chris - I agree, but I think the problem is with the code itself, it's confusing and arguably contradictory. A standard such as Passivhaus is much easier to understand: it measures energy and comfort. Any other 'eco-add ons' can be applied to the owners satisfaction once certification has been completed.

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  • The solution is to make the building regulations more stringent, i.e. the equivalent of Code 5, moving to Code 6 by say 2020.

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  • I agree with Jonathan. 300 pages of box-ticking without addressing the fundamentals of waste (extraction, transport, processing, frictional loss) and high embodied energy materials never added up to 'sustainable'. Now we can apply honesty and radical thinking for results much better, simpler and cheaper than the 'Codes' came near to. BRE being effectively owned by the materials-supply industry is a hinderance to this...
    Bob Franklin.

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