The future of sustainable housing
BRE responds to the Environmantal Audit Committee report, issued today, in our press release.
Housing Standards Consultation
The Government published a Housing Standards Review Consultation . The closing date for responses was 22 October 2013.
The future of sustainable housing: BRE’s response
A copy of our response to the Consultation can be viewed here and a brief summary of this is provided below. Our response has been formulated following extensive discussions with industry partners, our assessor network and other key stakeholders. We were a participant in the Environment Audit Committee’s parliamentary enquiry into the Review (see link below).
- BRE supports the Government’s stated objectives of
- improving the sustainability of new housing and the built environment.
- simplifying the current regime of regulations and standards by reducing red tape.
- However the proposals contained in the Government’s consultation will achieve neither of these outcomes.
- The proposals overlook the fact that the Government-owned Code for Sustainable Homes is different from the other standards. It groups standards together in a holistic approach, providing a flexible mechanism for developers, designers, product manufacturers and others to drive improvements in housebuilding. If implemented correctly, the Code can reduce red tape. “Winding down” the Code for Sustainable Homes mechanism will create costly uncertainty and delay to the detriment of housing provision.
- The Code is not preventing new housebuilding. The Government states in its own impact assessment that 39% of new dwellings completed in 2012 were built to the Code.
- The outcome of the consultation gives the appearance of being predetermined. There are flaws in the consultation process. This is unacceptable in view of the fact that the Code for Sustainable Homes, as the Government’s own comprehensive standard, is of a different status to the other standards reviewed, and we consider that there should be a separate consultation on the proposal to wind it down.
- The impact assessment concentrates on costs to developers and fails to take account of wider economic, social, environmental costs and benefits.
- The consultation proposals are likely to lead to a reduced quality of housing, with compliance relying only on individual building control and planning officers.
Leading up to our submission
We have further resources available from the activities we have undertaken leading up to our submission:
BRE's evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee
On Wednesday 9 October 2013, BRE presented its evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, which was streamed live on the Parliament TV channel. Watch the recording here. See all the written evidence submitted to date here
BRE held an event on 3 June 2013 to consider the Future of Sustainable Housing. Details of that have been archived here.