As part of its pledge to reduce ‘red tape’ – aimed at reducing cost and complexity in the housebuilding sector – the Government has now scrapped the Code for Sustainable Homes, and will instead incorporate elements of it into Building Regulations, re-cast as ‘new national technical standards’ and set at the equivalent of Code Level 4.
That said, this doesn’t mean that the Code will cease to be relevant to all as-yet-unbuilt schemes with immediate effect (it was withdrawn on 27th March 2015), as there are exceptions for legacy cases. Projects which were awarded Planning Permission with a particular Code level as a planning condition, but have yet to break ground, will still need to comply with the relevant Code requirements. There will also be a number of National Affordable Housing Programme schemes which will require Code compliance under the terms of their contracts. What’s not quite clear yet is what will happen to schemes that were in the process of writing draft conditions at the time of the change in legislation, but we’ll find out how that will pan out in due course.
We’re looking forward to seeing how elements of the Code will be incorporated into the Building Regulations – after all, it’s the sort of common-sense approach to legislation change we advocated in our 2013 article for ABC&D magazine, which called for Code requirements to be mandatory and integrated into Building Regulations for a simpler, more efficient, and more affordable system.