Last edited 21 Oct 2016

Draft housing standards

On 12 September 2014, the Department for Communities and Local Government and Communities Minister Stephen Williams MP announced a package of measures intended to save housebuilders and councils £114 million a year by cutting red tape and ensuring homes are built to demanding standards.

The ‘Housing standards review’ (HSR) was launched by the government in October 2012 following the housing and construction 'Red Tape Challenge', which began in Spring 2012. It was a review of the building regulations framework and housing standards, intended to consolidate and simplify codes, standards, rules, regulations and guidance in order to reduce unnecessary costs and complexities in the house building process. See Housing standards review for more information.

Stephen Williams said: ‘We need to build more homes and better quality homes … by freeing up housebuilders from unnecessary red tape …. The current system of housing standards creates a labyrinth of bureaucratic rules for housebuilders to try and navigate, often of little benefit and significant cost. We are now slashing this mass of unnecessary rules down to just 5 core standards saving housebuilders and councils £114 million a year whilst making new homes safer, more accessible to older and disabled people and more sustainable.

The 5 core of standards will cover:

  • Security: a mandatory national regulation on security standards in all new homes to protect families from burglary.
  • Space: a national, cross-tenure space standard that local authorities and communities can choose to use to influence the size of new homes in their local area.
  • Age friendly housing: new optional building regulations for accessible and adaptable mainstream housing to meet the needs of older and disabled people.
  • Wheelchair user housing: the introduction of an optional building regulation setting standards for wheelchair housing.
  • Water efficiency: the ability to set higher water efficiency standards in areas of water shortage.

In addition, at the time, it was expected that a new zero-carbon homes standard would come into force through the building regulations from 2016 - although in the event, this did not happen.

Alongside the announcement, draft documentation was published for consultation, seeking views on the detailed technical requirements supporting this new approach to housing quality. The consultation closed on 7 November 2014.

The new documentation was introduced in March 2015, see Housing standards review and Nationally described space standard for more information.

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