BRE have today issued a statement regarding the Home Quality Mark and the continued use of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
This is in response to a written ministerial statement from Eric Pickles MP that has advised local authorities that they can no longer require the Code for Sustainable Homes for new planning applications, effective after the Deregulation Bill is given royal ascent. The bill is still with the Lords and so a date has not yet been set.
Developments which currently have received a planning condition for the Code for Sustainable Homes will still require a Code certificate, and BRE expect the scheme to continue to cater for these cases for ‘more than one year’.
Also off the table are ‘any additional local technical standards or requirements relating to the construction, internal layout or performance of new dwellings’. Local authorities can no longer demand that a refurbishment meet BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment, for example. This means that BREEAM will continue on a voluntarily only basis.
Building regulations remain unaffected, and it is expected that ‘new additional optional Building Regulations on water and access’ will carry on much of the contents of the Code for Sustainable Homes. A new national space standard is also mentioned. These are known as the ‘new national technical standards’. Measures relating to flood resilience and resistance and external noise will remain a matter to be dealt with through the planning process.
The Home Quality Mark
BRE believes that the ‘new technical standards’ will come into force in October 2015, and is launching its new Home Quality Mark to coincide with this. In their own words, ‘it is designed to work in the new framework, with the new national technical standards (on water, access, space and security)’.
We think that BRE intends to provide the Home Quality Mark as a way of complying with the ‘new national technical standards’. So far there are no details on the technical points of the scheme but we know that it will measure the same areas as the ‘new national technical standards’ which are known so far. Is it too big a stretch to imagine that they are waiting to see what the government will do next?