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HCA Proposed Core Housing Design and Sustainability Standards Consultation

Category: News 01 April 2010

The Homes and Communities Agency (“HCA”) has recently published a consultation document which has significant financial implications for the house building industry and I therefore urge you to consider the document and respond to the consultation.

The document, “HCA Proposed Core Housing Design and Sustainability Standards Consultation” of March 2010, sets out the proposed revisions to design and sustainability standards which the HCA are seeking to impose as of April 2011. The new standards would apply to grant funded affordable dwellings of any tenure and market dwellings developed on HCA owned land. It is, however, probable that some local planning authorities will refer to such standards in S106 negotiations irrespective of the investment of public subsidy.

The key features of the proposed new standards to be introduced in April 2011 are:-

  • Increased minimum space standards (the current HCA space standard for a 3 bed 5 person house is 82m2; this will increase by 14m2 to 96m2)
  • Mandatory minimum storage space standards (expressed as a proportion of dwelling size)
  • Mandatory minimum room sizes
  • Lifetime Homes standards (currently only a requirement on CSH6)
  • Housing Quality Calculator (replaces HQI)
  • Minimum Code for Sustainable Homes level increased to CSH4 (currently CSH3)
  • Building for Life – minimum score increased to 14 out of 20 (currently the figure is 10 for rural schemes and 12 on all others)

The HCA estimate that achievement of these standards will cost an average of £8-10,000 extra per dwelling assuming the baseline to be October 2010 Building Regulation requirements and achievement of CSH3. It is therefore likely, when compared to current costs, that the additional costs will be greater than this estimate and it should be noted these figures do not include any allowance for the additional ‘land take’ inherent to the larger footprints. 

It can be anticipated that the introduction of these enhanced standards will compound viability issues and, potentially, have consequential knock-on implications for the overall supply of new homes. I therefore recommend all land owners, house builders and developers respond to this consultation exercise before the deadline of 17th June 2010 to ensure that your views are taken into account. 



Rob Huntley

Development Director

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