Housing standards review – a different perspective

By: Sustainable Homes
Nov. 20, 2013 - PRLog -- This blog summarises the Housing Standards Review and considers how they could be improved according to Sustainable Homes team.

We welcome the proposal to rationalise and simplify the confused approach to housing standards and reduce the volume of guidance. We also welcome the intention to clarify the distinctive contribution of building regulations and planning policy/guidance.

Our team has identified a number of important areas that the consultation and its accompanying impact assessment could be improved. These are covered in current standards and risk being lost. Many contribute significantly to the achievement of important wider environmental, social and health outcomes. This is a serious omission.

It is worth considering these issues. Sustainable Homes conducted a survey (2013) where we asked approximately 200 housing professional about their views on whether materials, waste and other environmental issues should be regulated in housing standards and 75% of those asked stated that they believe they should be regulated.

We strongly agree that areas most at risk are the responsible sourcing of materials and ecology.

Responsible sourcing of materials:

The consultation suggests that existing voluntary industry standards cover materials and that regulation is therefore unnecessary. Sustainable Homes does not agree. The voluntary standards mentioned in the consultation govern aspects of quality, design and processes but they do not cover the issues of embodied energy and environmental impacts of materials.

Moreover the proposals put at risk the key benefits from responsible sourcing – using materials which do not require human exploitation and encouraging greater use of recycled materials and reduced landfill.


Ecology is simply ignored in the consultation document.

In addition we make a number of other proposals for further change:

Mainstream commitment to ‘zero-carbon’ homes from 2016 by absorbing regulation of improved energy efficiency standards into building regulations. In additions, we believe that a new standard that goes beyond the current definition and includes current unregulated emissions needs to be developed.2.Provide more serious consideration of overheating.3.Storage in one of the practical barriers to further growth in cycling and our team believes building regulations should support provision of secure cycle storage for each home.4. Combine the proposed minimum space standards across all tenures with a space labeling scheme and a benchmark5.Address the need for internal space for recycling through building regulations6.Develop the capability of the building control profession. Including an extra accredited qualification in sustainability7.Strengthen the specification checklist for water use in appliances to require showers and water butts in every home and set higher standards for water efficiency and water use in showers

We support our statement for amending water standards with the research we conducted for the London Climate Change Partnership (2013) that has shown a low shower heads with rates of 8 litres per minute (current 10 litres per minute) were acceptable for occupiers

For our full response to the Consultation please click here (http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/WrittenEvidence...)

Sustainable Homes
0208 973 0429
Tags:Sustainability, Fuel Poverty, Government, Sustainable Housing, Energy
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