3 Apr, 2014


More schemes achieve highest BfL12 design standard

Planning Minister Nick Boles will this week launch the new web-based Building for Life 12 service and announce a second round of Built for Life commendations.

The new website will be a huge benefit for house buyers and builders alike. It will enable house buyers to find developments in their region identified as places with all the key ingredients to sustain enduring appeal as a place, while giving developers the opportunity to upload their latest developments with planning approval for review and promotion.

An increasing number of high quality schemes are now achieving BFL12 , both urban and rural built by developers large and small from across the country. 21 sites of varying size totalling nearly 12,000 homes and developed by 15 different builders in 19 different planning authorities have been awarded BFL 12 commendations with dozens more in the process of going through the review process.

The Ministerial event will take place at Nottingham Trent University and will be attended by house builders, industry professionals, MPs and students.  The Minister will also visit two BFL 12 commended sites – De Lacy Court, a David Wilson scheme of 13 houses in Castle Donington, North West Leicestershire; and Milbrook, a Davidsons’ site of 150 homes in Melbourne, South Derbyshire.

BfL12 was relaunched in September 2012 by its partners – the Home Builders Federation, Design Council Cabe and Design for Homes, with support from Nottingham Trent University - and is the third iteration of the industry owned and Government endorsed guide for developers and local authorities for new home and neighbourhood design. It was revised to ensure it is best suited to the needs of the reformed planning system under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Localism Act.  

BfL12 is designed to help local communities become more involved in design conversations and in shaping development proposals. Its 12 questions provide a structure for discussions between local communities, the local planning authority, the developer and other stakeholders, to ensure that the design of new homes and their neighbourhood are as attractive, functional and sustainable as possible.

Its development is the result of a unique collaboration between house builders, local authorities, planners, architects and academics and draws on the innovative approach to the promotion of design quality adopted by North West Leicestershire Council through its “ourplace” initiative. Its 12 criteria were specifically developed in response to communities’ views, and to enable stakeholders involved in housing to consider all the elements of what makes “a good place to live” at the design stage. It provides an understanding between existing communities and the new residents coming in and should give purchasers real confidence in their new home.

The NPPF puts a lot more power and responsibility in the hands of local authorities and local communities. It also gives continued weight to promoting design quality. BfL12 will help communities as they work with developers to seek outcomes that are both practical and ensure the developments planned for their area provide maximum benefit to existing and new residents.

BfL12 will also help house builders to continue the significant efforts made in recent years to drive up customer satisfaction levels, so that they are now at an all time high.

Planning Minister Nick Boles MP said:  “Building for Life principles show the importance of good design in creating vibrant places and beautiful buildings and the benefits it can bring in making development acceptable to people living next door. They are an incredibly useful guide for all involved in development and bring big benefits for both builders and buyers.”

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation said:

“Building for Life is an extremely useful tool for promoting design quality, and this new web site increases its influence both for home builders and home buyers. It is a unique collaboration that provides a comprehensive guide to all parties involved in housing design. Customer surveys clearly show that house builders are already delivering a high quality product that people want to buy and live in. BFL gives us good, practical criteria to benchmark our developments against and will help us ensure we are doing all we can to deliver the best possible product for home buyers.”

Clare Devine, Director of Design Council Cabe said:  We are very pleased to be able to commend a great selection of schemes across the country. It is encouraging to see so many housebuilders prioritising good design and creating great places to live. Cabe has examined each scheme robustly and independently robustly using a group of its Built Environment Experts. The examination system delivered by Cabe is now in place to assess future schemes as they come through.”

David Birkbeck, Chief executive of Design for Homes said: "Homebuilders can now submit their Built for Life applications online through bespoke software that’s been road tested by the industry. Homebuyers will then be able to find Built for Life schemes, including sales details through the Built for Life portal."

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner, HBF, 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or

Notes to Editors:

Building for Life 12 (BfL12) is led by three partners’: Design Council Cabe, Home Builders Federation and Design for Homes, supported by Nottingham Trent University. Design Council champions great design. For us that means design which improves lives and makes things better. As an enterprising charity, our work places design at the heart of creating value by stimulating innovation in business and public services, improving our built environment and tackling complex social issues such as ageing and obesity. We inspire new design thinking, encourage public debate and inform government policy to improve everyday life and help meet tomorrow’s challenges today. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF’s members account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: Design for Homes is a social enterprise which researches what works best for the layout, design and construction of new homes.