The Housing Standards Review was initially carried out by the DCLG in 2014, the aim of the changes was to reduce the amount of red tape for developers by placing restrictions on the technical items planning departments can request.

Prior to the review local planning departments across the UK had different requirements, meaning developers were constantly changing their proposals from district to district. In London alone, there were 12 standards for wheelchair accessibility causing an unnecessary headache for developers!

Find out what changes have now come into force regarding water efficiency, sustainability and accessibility.

What do you need to know?
There are 4 main changes to building regulations and approved documents which are outlined below.

1. Changes to planning rights for local planning departments
National technical requirements have been created but can only be applied by planners where they form part of the local plan.

2. The winding-down of the Code for Sustainable Homes
Building Regulations Part L will become the sole tool to control the energy efficiency of new homes.

3. ‘Nationally Described Space Standard’ replaces all local space standards
As with the national technical requirements this can only be applied as part of the local plan. This is enforced by planning and not building control.

4. Amendments to Building Regulations
A new Requirement Q1 and Approved Document covers security in all new dwellings, including change of use.

Part G2 (Water Efficiency) and M4 (Accessibility) introduce new ‘optional requirements’ that can be invoked by planning departments based on local need, but again this can only be imposed where forming part of the local plan. Once the higher ‘optional requirements’ are made a condition of the planning permission the developer has a statutory obligation to inform the Building Control that the higher level is in place – it is not for Building Control to liaise with planning. Building Control will then check and inspect the dwellings in question to the higher standards and become responsible for the enforcement of the optional requirements.

Take a look at LABC’s video for more information.

By Richard Twine @labcuk