Code for Sustainable Homes

What is the Code for Sustainable Homes?

The Code for Sustainable Homes is a star rated assessment of a new residential property covering nine areas of sustainable development.

 

The Code was first introduced in April 2006 and to date remains a "voluntary" standard in England and Wales. However as part of the planning policy process initiated by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, many Local Planning Authorities have and continue to incorporate the CSH into their development policies. Furthermore many Housing Associations and RSLs include the CSH as a condition for their purchase of a new build social home.

 

What does the Code for Sustainable Homes assess? 

There are nine areas of assessment covering the design and construction of a property:-      

  •  Carbon Emissions
  •  Water Consumption·        
  • Surface Water Run-off
  •  Waste
  •  Pollution
  •  Health and Wellbeing
  •  Management
  • Ecology

 

To achieve a certain rating, a developer must obtain a target points score. To achieve points, the design and construction must incorporate certain measures, such as:-

       

  • The provision of dedicated bicycle storage facilities in a garage or garden shed.
  • The installation of home office facilities in a bedroom. 
  • The specification of environmentally friendly building materials.
  • The installation of a low NOx emissions boiler.
  • The incorporation of ecological features such as bird or bat boxes or fruit berry shrubs.

 

How is a Code assessment carried out:

There are a number of stages to a Code assessment. At JSP we aim to make this as hassle free as possible

Stage 1 - Pre-assessment:
Many Local Planning Authorities require a CSH pre-assessment to accompany a planning application to confirm that the submitted design can achieve the required Level of sustainability. This process involves an appraisal of the design and discussions with the client and architect as to what is achievable and what must be incorporated into the design. We find it is best to be informed from the start!

Stage 2 - Design Stage:
One of our experienced assessors sits down with the client, project manager, the architect, the contractor (if instructed) and the M&E engineer amongst others, to map the most cost effective route to compliance. This meeting is followed up with a comprehensive report and the collation of the various pieces of evidence needed to justify the award of credits.  

Stage 3 - External Verification:
Our report and the accompanying evidence is audited externally by independent DCLG approved bodies. A design stage or interim certificate is then released to confirm the design has the potential to achieve the stated Code level

Stage 4 - Post Construction:
Our assessor will visit the property to confirm it has been constructed in line with the agreed design. This is followed by another report and additional evidence, which is again audited by an independent external body.

Stage 5 - Final Certification:
Certification is released and this can be passed to the LPA to successfully discharge the planning condition or to the Housing Association to honour the terms of the contract.

The role of the Code Assessor: 
The role of the Code assessor is to examine the design and award credits based on the guidance included within the published Technical Manual. However at JSP we believe the role should go much further. The Code can be a time consuming and difficult process, to say nothing of the additional expenditure that can result. A proactive, engaged and experienced assessor however can lighten the burden. At JSP we believe it is our role to:-

  • Provide the simplest and most cost effective solution to achieving compliance
  • To take charge of the assessment process and manage the collation of evidence necessary to award certification.
  • Communicate with the architect, contractor and other professionals such as the landscape architect/ecologist and M&E engineer as to what their responsibilities are.

 

The professionals at JSP have years of experience in delivering an efficient, cost sensitive and friendly service. Whatever the Code level or challenge, we can help.