Consultation on Government Technical Housing Standards Review
In August 2013, the Department for Communities and Local Government published its consultation on Technical Housing Standards, which followed from a year-long review of the standards and regulations affecting new homes. The aim of the Review was to simplify and rationalise existing housing standards.
Key points from the RIBA response included:
Building Regulations are the best place for standards in the long run - government should introduce a national set of standards as soon as possible. Alongside this, Ministers should set out a clear timetable for standards to be adopted within the Building Regulations
Standards should only apply to building performance – standards should only relate to the home itself (e.g. energy performance, space, access). Anything outside the home (e.g. neighbourhood security, cycle storage) should be a planning issue and set out in government guidance
Standards and planning guidance reviews need to be better aligned – government must act quickly to ensure that crucial planning guidance is developed on housing design to accompany technical standards. This should include issues such as cycle storage, ecology sunlighting and neighbourhood security, all of which risk being abandoned as a result of the housing standards review
Standard viability assessments need to change – government needs to consider not only upfront development costs, but standards based on people's needs and the longer-term social, environmental and economic costs of poor housing design. This was not taken account of in the Review
Government should introduce mandatory minimum space standards for all new homes RIBA research shows that space standards are necessary. Mandatory standards for all homes will create a level playing field between public and private housing. Government should move quickly to include national space standards within the national framework linked to accessibility standards
'Space labelling' is needed but is not a substitute for space standards – better marketing information would have benefits for consumers but only if it is set against a benchmark and is accompanied by space standards
Government must further explore standards on daylighting – this should include window sizes through standards, whilst also set out a presumption against north facing single aspect homes through robust planning guidance on the orientation
The Code for Sustainable Homes should be repealed – it is right for energy requirements to go into the Building Regulations. But important elements of the Code must be covered adequately through planning guidance and local policy
A one-stop-shop doc on housing design - RIBA backs the Challenge Panel's call for a single one-stop-shop document bringing together all technical standards (to be in the Building Regs over time) and planning guidance related to housing.
The RIBA's full response can be found here:
Consultation on HCA Core Housing Design Standards
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) published its draft Core Housing Design and Sustainability Standards in April for puplic consultation. The standards - applicable to publicly funded projects and for schemes on public land - are due to replace existing standards set by the HCA's predecessor organisations, the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships.
The RIBA has responded to this consultation, welcoming the standards, particularly the proposed minimum space standards.
The RIBA response can be found here:
Consultation on Life-time Homes criteria
This consultation provides some revisions to the criteria for Lifetime Homes. The RIBA believes that the proposed revisions provide some useful short term concessions but fall short of the more radical overhaul which would help to secure the future of the important principles.
Any standard which is intended to be applied to all new housing, across the country, must be owned and administered by government, preferably as part of a new, coordinated and streamlined set of core National Housing Standards.
Conservative party policy on housing
The Conservative Party published their green paper Strong Foundations: Building Homes and Communities which outlines their plans for housing if they were to get into power. The RIBA has responded to this consultation paper outlining the importance of housing design quality as well as commenting on the proposals for a more local focus for planning.
Conservative party proposals can be found here.
The RIBA response can be found here:
Housing and Regeneration Act 2008
The Act serves to create the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which assumes the existing duties of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships in order to deliver the Government's housing and regeneration policies. Following the RIBA's lobbying campaign, the new organisation has a statutory duty to contribute to design quality in new housing.
Homes and Communities Agency
RIBA response to Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (consultation on allocation mechanism).
The Government will be offering funds to local authority planning departments that deliver on incresing the number of new houses in their areas. The RIBA agrees with this in principle but is pushing for assurances that quality in new housing will rise with quantity. In this consultation the Government is asking on possible allocation grants for HPDG funds. One suggestion is that design standards within a local authority should act as one of the markeres that would secure funds. The RIBA is proposing the the presence of a local design review panel
RIBA briefing to the Second Reading of the Housing and Regeneration Bill
The RIBA welcomed the creation of the Homes and Communities Agency, but felt that it was vital that the best of its two predecessor bodies' legacies (the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships) is preserved. We called for the introduction of mandatory sustainbility assessments alongside mandatory sustainabilty ratings. We feel that the widespread introduction of design review panels would help ensure higher design quality in new homes. The RIBA also expressed its desire to see the re-introduvtion of minimum space standards in all new housing, following EP's welcome decision to apply such requirements to houses built on publicly-owned land.
RIBA response to Government consultation on the future of the Code for Sustainable Homes - making rating mandatory.
The RIBA has welcomed the Code for Sustainable Homes from the outset. We have called for rating against the code to become mandatory in the past and feel that its adoption by the private as well public sector is key to significantly reducing carbon emissions. In this respect however, we feel that the Government's latest proposals fall short.
Read our response in full below.
RIBA response to the Housing Green Paper
Communities and Local Government's latest paper clearly demonstrates increased commitment to design issues. Ambitious proposals for new Eco-towns are very welcome by the RIBA. However we would like to see a deeper, more entrenched design policy to deliver more sustainable housing over the next decade. Read the full response and press release below.
Planning Policy Statement 3 (Housing) February 2006
The RIBA has responded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's consultation on a revised version of PPS3, which sets out planning policy guidance for housing.
Code for Sustainable Homes
The proposed Code for Sustainable Homes has been drafted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and seeks to establish a system for measuring the sustainability performance of new housing. The RIBA responded to the consultation, and has since welcomed the government's initial reaction to the consultation responses.
Barker Review of Housing Supply
RIBA President George Ferguson responded to the Barker Review noting that the recommendations contain both good news and bad news for architecture and the built environment.
Barker final report
PPG3 Review (Housing)
The RIBA's Planning Policy Group responded to proposed changes to the Planning Policy Guidance Note on Housing (PPG3) and is convinced the proposals will not achieve their intended aims.
Sustainable Communities Plan
The RIBA supports a number of objectives outlined in the government's Sustainable Communities Plan including skills investment and improving the condition of existing housing stock. The RIBA is currently drafting a detailed policy on the issue of building sustainable communities to be launched July 2004.
Sustainable Communities Plan
RIBA recommendations to the Urban Affairs sub-committee of the House of Commons Transport, Local Government & the Regions Committee for its inquiry into affordable housing. The RIBA supports the aspiration of the committee to make decent houses affordable but there are a number of obstacles which presently inhibit this objective.