Design standards

The HMR Board has adopted a number of minimum standards for development:

Code for Sustainable Homes: Introduced in April 2007, this is the national sustainability standard for new homes. The rating a home receives depends on how it measures up in nine categories including energy and CO2 emissions, pollution and surface water run off. The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use at each level and there is a mixture of mandatory and non-mandatory elements. Licensed Code Assessors assess the design and final Code certificates are granted after the completed property is inspected.  We require properties to meet Code Level 3 as a minimum and some are being designed to Code Level 4.   

Lifetime Homes: This standard aims to ‘make life as easy as possible for as long as possible because [the homes] are thoughtfully designed. They provide accessible and adaptable accommodation for everyone, from young families to older people and individuals with a temporary or permanent physical impairment.’

The standard was introduced in 1991 and there are 16 criteria, all of which are mandatory if the standard is to be achieved. It is a nationally recognised set of criteria and will be mandatory for public sector-funded housing by 2011, with the Government’s aspiration that all dwellings will be to this standard by 2013. The HMR requirement is for developments to meet the Lifetime Homes criteria whenever we are providing funding, unless this is not feasible due to particular circumstances.

Building for Life: This is a national standard to assess the design of new housing developments. There are 20 criteria covering the environment & community, design & construction, character and streets, parking & pedestrianisation.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) administers the scheme. Awards are given annually but developer teams and local authorities can also use the indicators to develop and assess proposals. The HMR requirement is for developments to be designed to meet a minimum of 14 out of the 20 indicators and that the developer should be committed to applying for a Building for Life award.

Next: Design review