The New Technical Standards were announced in 2015, and apply to new build homes in England.
As a result of the housing standard review, it was announced that local authorities would no longer be able to require schemes like the Code for Sustainable Homes for new planning applications. Instead, planning authorities wishing to insist on planning conditions above the regulations would have to choose from The New Technical Standards and ‘optional’ regs (that’s optional for the planners and not for the developer!).
Now that 2016 has rolled around we have more of an idea of what these entail. These are:
Access – Optional Regs
Regulations for access are set through Part M of the Building Regulations. The changes in 2015 bring in two new sets of optional requirements. While not as comprehensive as the Lifetime Homes Scheme seen previously as part of the Code for Sustainable Homes, these address many of the same concerns:
- Step free access from parking to the dwelling, and to a ground floor WC, with provision for wheelchair users and the elderly
- Wall mounted switches and sockets high enough for occupants with reduced reach
- Capability for adaptions in later life or for disabled occupants
- Fully adapted or adaptable dwellings for wheelchair users. The requirements of this option are more comprehensive and supersede those above
Water Use – Optional Regs
Water Use remains limited to 125 liters per person per day, as measured through a Part G Water Calculation, which uses occupancy assumptions and a sanitary-ware specification to calculate usage. Planning authorities have the option to reduce this further to 110 liters per person per day if desired. This is laid out in the Part G document for 2015.
Space – New Technical Standards
While the details above are add-ons to existing regulations, the standards for space are a new document altogether. They are not building regs as such, but a ‘nationally described space standard’ published by DCLG. Within this document, minimum space is laid out depending on number of floors, bedrooms and occupancy.