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BRE unveils plans for new housing standard

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has unveiled plans to introduce a new standard to recognise performance in the housebuilding industry that goes beyond the minimum requirements.BRE's voluntary sustainability standard will enable developers to differentiate their product and provide increased choice for the consumer.All those involved in the delivery of housing, as well as consumers, are being invited to submit their views on what should be included within the standard.The BRE announcement follows the Department for Communities and Local Government Housing Standards Review and the proposed changes to the regulatory landscape, including the dissolution of the Code for Sustainable Homes and the incorporation of some of its elements into the building regulations.Developed for the whole of the UK, the standard will be able to be adapted for specific local circumstances. It is to have a consumer-focused rating system and will be easy to use and understand.The standard is to be designed to address the 'performance gap' issue, ensuring the home is performing as designed and recommending a course of action the homeowner can take if it fails to do so.Director of BREEAM Gavin Dunn pointed out the range of critical issues that may need to be addressed in future housing delivery, such as flooding, overheating, resource efficiency and increased biodiversity."It is essential that the industry and homeowners engage with us so we can develop a tool that people and the industry want to use because it provides increased quality and choice for the consumer, and drives innovation and improvements across the housing supply chain," he said.Mr Dunn added that better sustainability and quality in housing are essential due to the large amount of time people in the UK spend in their homes.He said other sectors, such as IT and the automotive industry, continually improve their products and suggested housing should do likewise.The consultation process will take place until July 25th 2014, with the standard ready to be rolled out by next spring.  

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