3 Conclusion |
38. DCLG projections indicate that the number of
households in England will increase by 10% over the next decade
from 22.1 million in 2011 to 24.3 million in 2021.
That equates to the formation of some 220,000 new households a
year. In that context, the Future Homes Commission has argued
that some 300,000 new homes must be constructed in Britain each
year to keep pace with likely demand.
Although those figures are estimates, it is reasonable to assume
that hundreds of thousands of homes will need to be constructed
over the next decade. In light of the volume of construction
required to meet medium-term demand for housing in England, Wales
and Northern Ireland, DCLG has a once-in-a-generation opportunity
to embed sustainability in the national housing stock through
appropriate regulation. Unfortunately, the regime proposed in
the HSR consultation is too weak to ensure that those homes will
be constructed to a robust sustainable standard.
Developing the CSH
39. We acknowledge that the CSH, as it is currently
constituted, is capable of improvement. The BRE, which maintains
the CSH under contract to DCLG, told us that "We have something
[the CSH] that we need to update. Some of the criticisms that
are made of the code are because it requires refreshing".
Similarly, the LGA told us that "there are some areas in
which the code could and should be modernised."
The CSH is owned by DCLG, which is responsible for updating it
(see paragraph 16). If DCLG were to update the CSH to take
account of evolving technology and standards of sustainability,
it would have an effective mechanism by which incrementally to
embed sustainability in home building for the long term.
40. To take a specific example of how the CSH might
be improved, we heard that the CSH is overly focused on high-technology
solutions. Wienerberger told us that the CSH "currently contains
some issues of peripheral importance which are assigned a higher
priority than the fundamental aspects of the fabric of the house
and its anticipated service life."
That point was echoed by the NHF, which observed that "the
way in which the code is currently laid out promotes a more technological
response rather than a performance-based response. This involves
putting in high-spec technology rather than thinking about fabric
We have already discussed the importance of sustainable materials
in construction (see paragraph 34). It would be straightforward
for DCLG to refresh the CSH to address that criticism.
41. The Coalition Agreement stated that the Government
would "require continuous improvements to the energy efficiency
of new housing."
Since 2007, the CSH has delivered continuous improvements in the
energy efficiency of new housing and other aspects of sustainable
construction. In the process, developers, local authorities, energy
suppliers, consultants, housing associations, designers, materials
manufacturers and others have achieved an ever-increasing standard
of sustainable development due to CSH compliance. If, as proposed
in the HSR consultation, DCLG winds down the CSH, that learning
and development will be lost. In order to facilitate local
choice, to promote green growth, green exports and green innovation,
to establish a meaningful zero carbon homes standard, to consolidate
seven years' experience of sustainable development and to maintain
and further develop incremental gains in sustainable home building,
we urge DCLG not to wind down the Code for Sustainable Homes.
60 DCLG, Household Interim Projections in England 2011 to 2021 (April 2013), p 1 Back
Future Homes Commission, Building the Homes and Communities Britain Needs (October 2012) Back
Wienerberger Ltd (CSH 033) paras 4 to 5 Back
HM Government, The Coalition: our programme for government, p 12 Back