Government announces update on Housing Standards Review – clarity still missing says Turley

The Government announced on 14 March an update to its Housing Standards Review. The update follows its detailed consultation published in August last year, yet frustratingly detail is still lacking on many of the measures leaving uncertainty as to process and outcomes, says planning consultancy Turley.

The original consultation was part of the Government’s plan to deregulate the housing sector and condense the range of standards that are applied through local plans to a few nationally applied standards. The consultation proposed a number of measures including:

  • The winding down of the Code for Sustainable Homes;
  • A set of prescribed National Technical Standards that could be applied locally under the plan making process;
  • Integration of a range of local standards into Building Regulations
  • The update published on the 14 March confirms that the Government is to progress with its original intentions, with the new policy expected to be implemented by the end of the year.

Colin Morrison, Director and Head of Sustainability at Turley said:

“In addition to the winding down of the Code for Sustainable Homes the update confirms that the 2016 Zero Carbon Policy will surpass local policies and will be the principal metric for energy performance.

“The update also confirms that the Housing Standards Review will remove the ability of local authorities to request water efficiency measures above Building Regulations unless the development is in an area of water stress, and then only a nationally prescribed standard can be requested following viability assessment.

“With regards to the Code for Sustainable Homes, the announcement confirms that it is being wound down although we still do not have answers with regards to transitional and legacy arrangements. Until we have these, the Code will continue in its current form.”

Colin continues:

“Perhaps the most surprising of announcements under the Review is the confirmation that a single national space standard is to be developed outside of the Building Regulations, with an additional standard to be applied only when viable. This announcement is the only significant variation from the consultation and runs contrary to industry representations.”

“Deregulation of house building is one of the many steps needed if we are to ensure that hundreds of thousands of new, low carbon homes are delivered. The Government needs to maintain progress and, importantly, provide the clarity needed where it is missing on these measures as well as the zero carbon policy.”