Just to remind you – the Code for Sustainable Homes has now been scrapped by the Government. Many of its measures will now be combined with the Building Regulations.
Important measures include:
- abolition of requirement for rainwater harvesting in areas that don’t suffer from shortages
- some Building Regulations become ‘optional’ giving local authorities the ability to localise the way homes in their area are built
- abolition of requirement for more than 1 phone line to be installed – regardless of need
- removing requirement for compost bins and secure sheds in gardens
- minimum security standards introduced
- the requirement for all homes to be zero carbon by 2016 stays in place
Move to Cut Red Tape
While ensuring all required standards are kept as part of formal Building Regulations, the Government aims to make it easier and cheaper to build homes to a high standard. Additional requirements that have affected house builders in recent years, such as but not limited to the Code, will be merged. Self-Builders, for example, can now have just one contact, with their Building Control office, to ensure they are meeting all required standards.
Building to a better standard
The measures reduce 100 standards to fewer than 10; bringing down the numbers of remaining pages of guidance from 1,000 to fewer than 100, saving councils and developers both time and money.
The measures also include scrapping rules that require house builders to get the same work checked by a range of different organisations, e.g. the planning authority, a Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor, a building control organisation, the Homes and Communities Agency and independent standard assessors. Under the new system technical requirements will be assessed by building control bodies alone.
Under the changes, the new system includes “optional building regulations”, which only apply where it is right to do so, with councils deciding whether they apply to developments being built in their areas. These can include:
- water efficiency – where a different standard may be available for areas facing water shortages – potentially saving households £100 a year in bills
- accessibility – where different standards may be needed for homes to be accessible for older people and wheelchair users – with optional building regulations that developers would need to abide by where it was applied, to avoid them facing a range of different measures in different areas
The government is developing a national space standard for councils to replace the variety of different space standards which are currently required by councils.
A new standard for security in new homes, based on current industry best practice is to be applied either nationally or on the basis of local need, and based on evidence of cost-effectiveness.
With a new zero carbon homes standard coming into force from 2016, in the future energy efficiency standards will be set through national building regulations.
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