BRE consults with housebuilding industry on development of a new homes standard

BRE unveiled plans today to develop a voluntary sustainability standard for new homes that will allow developers to differentiate their product in the marketplace by recognising performance beyond minimum regulation and provide increased choice for the consumer. It is inviting all those involved with the delivery of housing as well as consumers to have their say on what should be included in the standard.

The announcement comes in the wake of the recent Department for Communities & Local Government Housing Standards Review (HSR) and subsequent proposed changes to the regulatory landscape. These include the dissolution of the Code for Sustainable Homes and the incorporation of some of its elements into the building regulations.

Director of BREEAM Gavin Dunn said:

‘We have our own ideas on the critical issues we need to address in future housing delivery – things like resilience to adverse and extreme weather: flooding, wind, overheating – mental and physical health & wellbeing of occupants, resource efficiency, increased biodiversity, low energy, water and maintenance costs and improved connectivity. It is essential that the industry and homeowners engage with us so we can develop a tool that people and the industry want to use because it provides increased quality and choice for the consumer, and drives innovation and improvements across the housing supply chain.’

The standard will be developed for the UK and can be adapted for specific local circumstances. It will use an easy to understand, consumer focused rating system. Significantly the standard aims to tackle the performance gap issue, ensuring that the home is performing as designed and if not to recommend a course of action the home owner can take.

Dunn added:

‘Our remit at BRE has always been to catalyse positive change in the built environment for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy. In the UK we spend a large proportion of our lives in buildings – we must continue to push for better sustainability and quality in our homes. Look at any other sector – automotive, IT, communications – these sectors are continuously improving their products – why should housing be any different?’