FMB slams MPs’ call to keep Code for Sustainable Homes
Published: 28 November, 2013
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has criticised the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee's recent report on the Housing Standards Review.
The Committee's report calls on the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) to reconsider plans outlined in the recent Housing Standards Review consultation to phase out the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, argued: "For years, the building industry has had to negotiate a proliferation of competing, overlapping and sometimes contrary local and national standards. These have added unnecessary complexity and cost to the housebuilding industry, and have had a disproportionate impact on smaller firms and developments.
"The Housing Standards Review, which took place over an extended period of time with input from all interested parties, systematically examined the different standards in operation and proposed a clear way forward: a set of tiered national standards and the incorporation of these standards over time, wherever possible, into Building Regulations. This would draw a clear and sensible line of distinction between the planning system and the Building Regulations.
"The Code for Sustainable Homes may have served a useful purpose in setting and driving standards for sustainable building, but as the Standards Review recognised, the government's policy on zero-carbon homes has now outstripped any need for the Code. It must be recognised that current energy efficiency standards required under Part L of the Building Regulations, and the proposed uplift in standards due to be implemented in 2014, are already extremely ambitious and highly challenging for the industry.
“The idea that local authorities would be looking to set higher standards is baffling, and frankly divorced from reality. In reality, at a time when local government resources are already stretched to breaking point, it must be asked what expertise and understanding do local planning authorities have to start second-guessing technical building standards?"