Survey reveals construction professionals strongly favour environmental regulations
Published by Andrew Eagles for Sustainable Homes in Housing and also in Environment, Local Government
Majority of professionals surveyed are in favour of maintaining the Code for Sustainable Homes and Housing Quality Indicators, or integrating sustainability standards into Building Regulations
A survey by Sustainable Homes Ltd reveals that over 70% of construction professionals favour regulation of environmental and space standards.
A broad consensus of around 200 housing and construction professionals voiced support for Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and Housing Quality indicators (HQIs) standards. CSH and HQIs are the mechanisms currently used to assess standards such as the provision of energy saving devices or requirements for adequate day lighting.
Sustainable Homes Ltd recently gathered the opinions of respondents from varying professions including technical directors of construction companies; local authority directors of housing; directors at architectural firms; heads of design and compliance; development managers; managing directors from energy efficiency providers and directors of operations at housing associations.
The majority of those opposing existing regulations did not prefer deregulation but instead wanted regulation via other means, such as compulsory building regulations or the planning system. Only around 13% of respondents felt that the environmental impacts and space standards of homes should not be regulated at all. The report focuses on the preferred regulatory mechanisms that respondents suggested.
Andrew Eagles, Managing Director of Sustainable Homes Ltd, said: “This survey was very popular. It was particularly interesting to see the strength of support for regulation of environmental and space standards. These standards are often portrayed as barriers to construction. Many respondents though were arguing for these standards to be applied to more homes (through building regulations) rather than just applying them to affordable housing. Construction professionals clearly support environmental and space standards.”
KEY SURVEY FINDINGS
74% of respondents in favour of regulation thought the life-cycle impacts of building materials should be regulated through the CSH.
Respondent comment: “this should be required for all building work: retrofit and new build homes”.
For those that voted for regulation outside of the CSH, incorporating life-cycle impacts within building regulations was a popular alternative.
Respondent comment: “A new simplified standard should provide a rigorous dual assessment of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and operational energy issues, similar to the standards used in Austria for LCA using the ISO standard method.”
Respondent comment: ‘Suggest tighter controls on the manufacturing and supply process to regulate all material use in the UK and beyond, and not just in conjunction with the Code’.
65% of those in favour of regulation of minimum day light standards were in favour of regulation via the CSH.
Respondent comments: “Should be able to accommodate (sic) less deep but wide rooms. The use of the room doesn't need lighting to the full depth of rooms... people will sit nearer windows when they need more light. The Code is too prescriptive at present though.”
Others felt that regulation should occur through building regulations. Respondent comment: “There should be mandatory daylight levels in building regulations.”
77% of respondents felt that space standards should be regulated. 11% felt space standards should not be regulated and 12% did not know.
Interestingly, 66% of those in favour of regulation wanted to maintain the use of Housing Quality Indicators, the current mechanism government use to regulate space standards.
Many of those who preferred regulation outside of the HQIs suggested that this factor be integrated into planning requirements. Respondent comments included:“should be in building regs and not just code” and “the London space standards should be introduced nationally for all tenures via the National Planning Policy Framework”.
Other findings included that 81% felt that ecological enhancements should be regulated, with 65% in favour of these being evaluated through the CSH. Many of those in favour of regulation elsewhere suggested including it in the planning system.
Notes to Editor
Sustainable Homes has provided expert training and advice on how to retrofit or build homes sustainably since 1997. They also provides secretarial services to the Sustainable Homes Index For Tomorrow, the award winning best practise group representing over two million residents.
For more information contact:
Andrew Eagles email@example.com 0208 973 0420
To download the full report please click here.