Telephone Number

Our Contact Details

Eco-Futures
The Studio, Estate Office, Glanusk
Crickhowell
NP8 1LP
01873 811909

The future of the Code for Sustainable Homes

In January we published details of the Welsh Assembly Government consultation on changes to Part L (Conservation of fuel and power). We are now very close to from finding out what the future could hold for the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) in England.

There are rumours that the requirement for CSH could be reduced, or even phased out completely over the coming years. Consultation papers are expected to be released in England during May, with the Government scheduled to publish a ‘plan of action’ by the end of July.

It’s part of a much wider-reaching Government initiative known as The Red Tape Challenge. Since 2010 all kinds of bureaucracy from equality to health and safety have been scrutinised to look at how things can be made simpler for everyone.

Part of this Red Tape Challenge includes the Housing Standards Review (HSR), which has been investigating ways of cutting some of the complexities which we currently find in the construction industry. The Code for Sustainable Homes is one such area which has been put under review.

It’s hoped the findings of the HSR will uncover ways of making CSH more viable for developers, to save time and money… but at an extreme level, it could be announced that CSH will be wound down, with key elements of the Code being brought into Part L instead.

The upcoming changes to Part L are expected to include a Fabric Energy Efficiency target for the first time. This is currently only required for dwellings which are built to the Code.

Although details of the consultation have not been announced yet, rumours of the Code winding down have been fuelled by the following  statement from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which reads: “Regardless of the outcome of the review process, BRE and DCLG expect there will be a need for the CSH services to be maintained for a period to manage assessments, the pipeline of existing planning permissions, funding commitments currently in place, and so on.”

We’re keeping a close eye on developments, and will let you know about any significant recommendations in the consultation.

Robust Details – Update April 2013

The Code for Sustainable Homes allows Part E Robust Details (RD’s) to be used in order to qualify for sound credits under ‘Health & Wellbeing’ (Hea2) without the need to on-site pre-completion sound testing.

New Robust DetailsTM are regularly added and available for registration, and we thought it would be useful to include these on our website as soon as we recieve them.

April 2013 has seen the addition of a new concrete separating wall detail, E-WM-26 – Besblock Star Performer block with 100mm insulated cavity and gypsum-based board. This detail is eligible for 1 CSH credits (or 3 EcoHomes credits).

The below table sets out the other Robust DetailsTM credits currently available (as of October 2012):-

RD

Welcome To Our New Website

As our business has continued to grow we thought that it was time to update our website to better reflect our brand image and to provide new and existing customers with more information about our history, our services and our people.

In a market that is constantly changing, we also felt that we could use our new site to update our customers on any regulatory, technical or business changes proposed or taking place that are likely to have an impact on your business.

We hope that you like the new format and structure of our site and find it informative. If there are any amendments that you feel would add greater value, then please do not hesitate to let us know.

Robust Details – Update Jan 2013

The Code for Sustainable Homes allows Part E Robust Details (RD’s) to be used in order to qualify for sound credits under ‘Health & Wellbeing’ (Hea2) without the need to on-site pre-completion sound testing.

New Robust DetailsTM are regularly added and available for registration, and we thought it would be useful to include these on our website as soon as we recieve them.

January 2013 has seen the addition of a new concrete separating floor detail, E-FC-16 – Thermal Economics Iso-Rubber CC3 resilient layer bonded to screed applied to pre-cast planks. This detail is eligible for 3 CSH credits (or 4 EcoHomes credits).

The below table sets out the other Robust DetailsTM credits currently available (as of October 2012):-

RD

Changes to the Considerate Constructors Scheme

The Considerate Constructors Scheme launched a new Code of Considerate Practice (CCP) from January 2013 which replaced the old Code. The new Code of Practice includes an update of all support documents including new checklists, new report formats and a new scoring system.

The old Code of Practice had eight sections, and the scoring method resulted in a site being awarded a score of up to five points in each section, giving a maximum potential score of 40 points altogether. To achieve 1 credit under the Code for Sustainable Homes, a score of 24 points (3 points in each section) was required.

The new Code of Practice has been reduced from eight to five sections, each consisting of a series of bullet points rather than the set of questions under the old scheme.

Because of the new scoring system, new scoring thresholds within the Code for Sustainable Homes criteria will be as follows:-

Credits

Current Point score   to achieve CSH credits

New Point score to achieve   CSH credits
  1 CR - Best Practice

24-31.5

25*-34

  2 CR – Significantly beyond best practice

32-40

35**-50

* a score of 5 in each of the 5 sections must be achieved

** a score of 7 in each of the 5 sections must be achieved

We have amended our processes and procedures to reflect the changes, but if you have any queries regarding the impact these changes will have on you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Part L Consultation

On the 31 July 2012 the Welsh Assembly Government began a consultation on changes to Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations in Wales.

The consultation proposes to:-

  • phase the introduction of a higher energy efficiency standard (40% improvement over 2010 levels) for new dwellings so that it begins to take effect in 2015 rather than earlier;
  • remove the existing planning requirements for use of the Code for Sustainable Homes; and
  • take steps to simplify the application of the new standards.

We think that any changes that will improve efficiency in the sector and allow developers to reduce the time spent in dealing with red tape and bureaucracy can only be a good thing. However, this should not be at the sacrifice of sustainable development, which is an issue that extends well beyond reducing carbon emissions.

The additional benefits that the Code for Sustainable Homes brings are widely known. If focus is shifted entirely to improving energy efficiency, then we feel that there are a number of issues would be lost or substantially diminished. Even if these were to be encompassed within building regulations or an alternative scheme, changing to a new policy or process will require a substantial “bedding in” period and the momentum already gathered will slow or stop.  That does not even take into consideration the question over who would be responsible for ensuring compliance.

The Code for Sustainable Homes is not perfect and there are a few amendments that we would like to see in the future, but it is the best sustainability vehicle we have and removing it would undermine all of the hard work that has been put in by everyone.

The timetable for the next step is not clear, but we are keeping a close eye on this and will provide any update as soon as possible.