For my talk on GreenGauge Homes this week, I tried to find a visualisation of the compulsory introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which came into use in 2007, and the Ecohomes rating which it superseded. When I couldn’t find one, I decided to make one myself.
Here it is:
Notes on the timeline:
The timeline shows the standard required for Grant Funded Affordable Housing in Green, and All (including Open Market or Developer) Housing in Blue. The red line is where we are now.
For example, Grant funded housing has had to meet Ecohomes Pass since 2003, and Code 3 since 2007. Developer Housing will need to meet Code 3 by 2010 and Code 4 by 2013.
This is for newbuild homes of course, in England and Wales. More details here at the Communities and Local Government Website.
Note the Ecohomes ratings have been superseded by the Code ratings, but they aren’t really comparable as they have different indicators. They are arranged in order of their compulsory introduction. The timeline has also been simplified, taking out optional items and only showing annual steps.
What does this mean for the industry?
The timeline covers 13 years – just 9 years for the Code alone, which is not really very long in the construction industry. To turn new UK housebuilding around in that time is a big deal. In particular, 2010 will be difficult – the open market will have to meet code 3, and there is a significant step between code 3 and code 4 for affordable housing to meet.
Housing associations have had a head start dealing with the Code, but Design and Build tenders coming in recently have shown that some contractors aren’t entirely sure how they are going to meet the requirements of Code 4. Like the planning system, things are getting more complicated. It’s important therefore, to get your Design Stage Assessment sorted early and then not muck about chopping and changing.
And for the Open Market?
Before the latest financial problems, open market housing developers were also starting to realise that some of their contractors might have a few problems building to the code.
There may a lot less housebuilding going on now, but when things pick up again the deadlines will still be there. Make the time now to understand what the code means for your business.
Meanwhile to up the pressure a little more, some planning authorities are already making a code rating a condition of some planning permissions.
And lastly , why not take a positive spin…
In practical terms, developers have to make money, so they have to avoid unnecessary expenditure. To be the most cost effective, a developer is going to want to meet the code as cost effectively as possible, and this means choosing renewable technologies purely on capital cost.
However it is also worth considering the commercial benefits of your choice of technology. If the renewables option you choose can be shown to further reduce utility bills, this may be a selling point for open market or shared ownership homes, or a useful extra benefit for your tenants.
Over to you
What is your experience of dealing with the Code? Lets share our experiences and suggestions.