Government plans will make it easier and cheaper to build homes to a high standard, Communities Minister Stephen Williams has said.
Currently, house builders face a myriad of different standards to implement each time they build new homes in an area – with the standards imposed varying between areas, and often leading to duplication and even contradiction.
Publishing the government’s response to its housing standards review, the minister said the move would remove this confusion from the system.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “The current system of housing standards is complicated and confusing and is ripe for reform. That’s why we’re planning to make the whole system easier to understand and follow, consolidating housing standards so that all the requirements are in one place.”
The new measures will reduce 100 standards to fewer than 10; bringing down the numbers of remaining pages of guidance from 1,000 to fewer than 100, saving councils and developers both time and money.
The measures also include scrapping rules that require house builders to get the same work checked by a range of different organisations.
Currently, a builder may have to have the same work checked by the planning authority, a Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor, a building control organisation, the Homes and Communities Agency and independent standard assessors – under the new system technical requirements will be assessed by building control bodies alone.
Currently, in addition to existing building regulations councils can also impose locally-set targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy – imposing extra cost on new homes and leading to confusion and variation across the country.
Instead, with a new zero carbon homes standard coming into force from 2016, building on strengthened energy efficiency requirements in building regulations in 2010 and 2013 national standards have been catching up and overtaking local targets. In the future energy efficiency standards will be set through national building regulations.