The government is to introduce mandatary security requirements and an optional space standard for new homes as part of its overhaul of housebuilding red tape. Draft guidance governing space, security, access and water efficiency has been published for consultation.
The government’s Housing Standards Review was launched in October 2012 with the objective of cutting red tape and limiting housebuilding bureaucracy. As a result the government is to replace the Code for Sustainable Homes and other standards adopted by local planning authorities with a new approach. This involves integrating essentials into the Building Regulations and introducing optional requirements, set by local government but applicable by local planning authorities when “justified by need and subject to viability”.
Security requirements will be mandatory, but the new requirements governing space, water efficiency and accessibility will be optional.
Some of the key points
National internal space standard (optional requirement):
- Minimum gross internal floor areas (GIAs) are set out for one to six bedroom homes, starting at 37m2 for a studio home with a shower room.
- Minimum built in storage thresholds are also set, starting at 1m2 for a studio home
Security (mandatory – draft Approved Document Q):
- Based on British Standard PAS 24
Access (optional requirement – draft Approved Document M):
- Homes for private sale or rent should be ‘wheelchair adaptable’ , so that they can be easily fitted out for the needs of specific occupants
Water (optional requirement – draft Approved Document G):
- Currently all new homes are designed for an average water consumption of no more than 125 litres per person per day. An optional requirement of 110 litres/person/day is proposed, which is effectively the same as was previously included in Code for Sustainable Homes level 3 (which required 105 litres/person/day for internal use only)
- Energy – alongside other sustainable features – were formerly covered by the Code for Sustainable Homes. Energy efficiency standards are now taken into national Building Regulations.