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Briefings

HBF Member Briefing: Housing Standards Review: launch of further consultation

Date: 12/09/14

Housing Standards Review: launch of further consultation

DCLG has this afternoon launched its promised further consultation setting out its final proposals for implementing the conclusions of the Housing Standards Review. Its final proposals are based on the headline decisions on the Review which were announced in the Ministerial Statement issued in March.

The DCLG press release on the current consultation can be read at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/slashing-red-tape-to-boost-british-housebuilding

The main consultation document and supporting technical documents setting out the proposed new standards resulting from the Review are not yet available online, but the press release confirms that in order to reduce and simplify the plethora of building design and performance standards that have been applied by local authorities until now, such standards will in future be limited to:

  • security: with the introduction of a national regulation on security standards in all new homes to protect families from burglary – this will involve comparatively small changes to current NHBC standards and will form Part Q of the Building Regulations
  • space: for the first time ever, a national, non-mandatory, cross tenure space standard that local authorities and communities can choose to use to influence the size of new homes in their local area and which must be properly justified in local plan policies
  • 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 for the first time 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

The Government proposal is for the security standards to become a new mandatory regulation, and for councils to be able to decide whether to apply the other remaining standards to developments built in their areas through proper justification in their proposed local plan policies and so subject to public examination based on agreed policy criteria.

We understand the full consultation documentation includes both details of the proposed technical standards and ideas for the criteria and considerations that councils would be required to adhere to in seeking to adopt any of the proposed optional standards in their areas . Such criteria are to be included in a Ministerial Planning Statement governing the future standards regime. The consultation also seek views on the transitional arrangements for introducing the new standards regime, which will include the basis for winding down the Code for Sustainable Homes.

This is an important and substantive consultation and we will be seeking members’ views to prepare a full HBF response. We will also be organising member discussions, including further discussion with DCLG officials. The consultation closes on 7 November.

We will provide a more detailed briefing note on Monday when we have been able to review the consultation doucments.

John Slaughter