In the January edition of Newsbites, Beverley Firth discussed the impact of the Government’s consultation paper “Building a Greener Future; Towards Sustainable Development”. The Government introduced another paper on 13 December 2006 – the “Code for Sustainable Homes”. The code is intended to be a single national standard to guide developers in the design and construction of sustainable homes. It assesses the sustainability of homes by, for example, introducing a minimum standard for energy and water efficiency. It has a star rating system from one to six, with six being outstanding development in sustainability terms.

The code will sit alongside the planning system and is closely linked to Building Regulations, the regime of statutory instruments that underpin the Building Act 1984.

The code is set to take the lead in the future direction of Building Regulations in relation to sustainability. Although the code is voluntary at this time, the Government is encouraging industry to follow the code as it is currently considering making its use compulsory in the future.