Why are the changes happening? Through the Housing Standards Review, the government has highlighted that the housing sector wastes too much money trying to comply with a plethora of building standards. Many have been amended or conflict, and often, adjoining authorities enforce entirely different standards. Duplication of effort and inconsistencies between standards also all add to the construction cost.
Which key areas will the new housing standards cover? The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed that national standards will be provided for the five key areas – energy, water, access, security and space.
When will the new standards come in? The ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ will begin to ‘wind down’ from spring 2015, ahead of the October arrival of the core standards.
How will the new standards be implemented? The new standards will be amendments to the Building Regulations. The space standard however, will be a national standard that is referred to in a local authority’s planning policies.
There will be a transition period, expected to be mid 2015, that will allow any existing planning permissions to remain on the old standards. Going forward, when planning permissions are granted, any equivalent technical standards that relate to the five key areas will continue to apply and will be “passported” into the planning permission.
However, other standards, for example in relation to the Code for Sustainable Homes, cannot be enforced. The local authority can also decide to apply the new technical standards. But, even if a local authority’s old standards were higher than the new standard, the new ones will apply.
Experts forecast that by 2018 all domestic dwellings will be built under the new standards.
Trade professionals looking for more information can visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/housing-standards-review-technical-consultation