DCLG Note = seems sensible and at last an end to hobbit homes – but the devil is in the detail.
This note supports the Written Ministerial Statement made by the Minister for Communities
on 13th March 2014. It sets out how each of the themes covered in the Housing Standards
Review consultation are to be taken forward.
Minimum access standards in Part M (Access to and use of buildings) will be retained. In
addition, an optional level of accessibility will be introduced in Part M which will set out
criteria for age friendly, accessible and adaptable housing. We will also set out within Part M
an optional standard which will set out criteria setting out the specific needs of wheelchair
adaptable and accessible housing.
These optional levels would not be universally mandatory, but local authorities will be able to
adopt them to meet local needs, according to local circumstances or individual needs, and
subject to viability testing.
The Government recognises the value of of a single minimum security standard for new
homes, based on industry’s best practice. The Government is considering the evidence on
whether such a standard should be applied to all new homes, as a Building Regulation applied
nationally or whether it would be more proportionate if applied on a local basis.
We propose to introduce a new, tighter level of water efficiency into the Building
Regulations, to be set at 110 litres/person/day (lpd). This would be an optional higher level in
addition to the current level of 125 lpd which could only be applied in areas with specific
local needs (such as water stress). This would be chosen by the local authority. Government
is considering the best way to define areas of water stress to ensure this works in practice.
We propose a “Building Regulations only” approach, with no optional additional local
standards in excess of the provisions set out in Part L of the Regulations.
In Budget 2013 the Government reaffirmed its commitment to implement the zero carbon
homes policy for new homes from 2016. This will be achieved through a strengthening of the
energy performance requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations (incorporating carbon
compliance, energy efficient fabric and services), and the delivery of allowable solutions.
We believe that it is right that local communities and neighbourhoods have the ability to
shape the nature of new development in their local areas. However, a proliferation of
localised and varying space standards creates a potentially significant barrier to delivery of
housing. We will therefore develop a new national standard – not a Building Regulation –
which will offer a consistent set of requirements with regard to the internal area of new
homes. This will have two different sets of specifications, based on a consolidation of
existing space standards used by authorities across the country. Application of the standard
will be optional for local authorities to use and they will need to justify its application
according to evidenced needs and subject to local plan viability testing. This will help to
balance the needs of local communities whilst ensuring that the home building industry can
deliver at volume in a cost effective manner.
Government considered a range of other issues in the Housing Standards Review
consultation. The Government is not taking forward any work on these matters during this