More and more people are drawn to the capital resulting in a current population of around 8.6 million. That’s more than the population of Austria! With an ever growing population comes an ever growing demand for properties and London is no different with a housebuilding target of 49,000 new homes per year.
Following changes in the proposed Housing Standards Review, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has brought forward alterations to the London Plan. These changes are intended to ensure the much needed homes meet the needs of future Londoners.
There’s a lot to take in so we’ve put together a quick summary of the proposed changes to save you trawling through the Minor Alterations for London Plan (MALP) put forward for review until 7 August 2015.
The changes have been made to four of the policies set out in the original plan in March 2015:
1. Quality and design of housing developments
2. Housing choice
3. Minimising carbon dioxide emissions
4. Water use and supplies
1. Housing Quality and Design Policy
Local Development Frameworks (LDFs) need to meet the requirements for accessibility and adaptability i.e new homes should be designed with adequate sized rooms and layouts that are convenient and efficient.
There are also changes to the minimum space standards for new build properties proposing a minimum ceiling height of 2.5m for at least 75% of the gross internal area to meet the requirement for quality housing.
2. Housing Choice Policy
90% of new housing is required to meet the Building Regulations for ‘accessible and adaptable dwellings’. In order to comply with this regulation the property must have step free access i.e a lift if the property is above or below the entry storey which was not specified in the previous plan.
10% of new housing is required to meet the Building Regulation for wheelchair user dwellings i.e it needs to be ‘accessible’ for wheelchairs or easily ‘adaptable’ for wheelchair users living in the property. Current guidelines only specify this for local authority homes.
3. Minimising Carbon Dioxide Emissions Policy
All residential homes should be zero carbon from 2016.
In the meantime developers should aim to minimise carbon dioxide emissions on-site. In the meantime developers should aim to minimise carbon dioxide emissions on-site. That’s a 35% minimum improvement on Building Regulations for CO2 emissions.
Developers should proactively implement Allowable Solutions for the remaining carbon offset eg through local carbon saving projects and/or investing into a local or London wide fund.
4. Water Use and Supplies Policy
Proposed reduction in maximum water consumption for new home owners from 125 litres per person per day to 105 litres or less to tackle the water shortage in London.
Developers should install a fittings-based approach to identify the water consumption for the development.
Read our Water Efficiency: How to make sure there’s enough water for a cuppa AND a shower blog for more information on the requirements for water consumption in new builds.
The proposed changes are open for consultation until 22nd June 2015, you can learn how to respond here.
By Anna Cross
Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.