The Department for Communities and Local Government launched the much awaited Housing Standards Review consultation document on the 23rd August. The aim of the consultation is to seek the industry’s views on the results of the recent review of Building Regulations and housing standards. The review had the purpose of reducing bureaucracy and costs for house builders, supporting growth whilst delivering quality, sustainability, safety and accessibility.
Under the proposals set out in the consultation document the government indicated that it could “wind down” the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) in favour of using the Building Regulations as the key vehicle to provide energy requirements for buildings.
The greater emphasis on the Building Regulations would see contractual commitments in the Code migrated across, “Where there are significant issues for carrying forward, these will be reflected in the consultation process”, “...in light of that, and the outcome of this consultation, the government proposes to wind down the role of the Code. We will put in place transitional arrangements to ensure that contractual commitments under the Code can be properly covered”.
However opponents to scrapping the CSH argue that the industry is best served by having a two pronged approach to greater sustainability in construction, as the CSH incentivises stakeholders to think about sustainability from the outset. In addition standards of sustainability in Building Regulations have evolved to follow CSH; and CSH is a flexible means of delivering sustainability in line with local circumstances and local choice.
Although the gap between the Code and Building Regulations has narrowed, there is concern from some stakeholders that ecological issues currently considered by the Code will not easily fit into the Building Regulations framework and as a result will be ignored.