The sustainability criteria by which new homes are measured are:
dioxide to the atmosphere (both of which have minimum standards that must be met at
each level of the code)
• Water H2O & Surface Water Run-off – The change in surface water run-off patterns as a
result of the development– The consumption of potable water from the public supply
systems or other ground water resources (each of which have minimum standards to be
met at entry level)
• Materials – The environmental impact of construction materials for key construction
elements (no mandatory minimum standards).
• Surface Water Run-off - Management of surface water run-off from the development and
• Waste – Waste generated as a result of the construction process and facilities
• Pollution – Pollution resulting from the operation of the dwelling
• Health and Well-Being – The effects that the dwelling’s design and indoor environment
• Management – Steps that have been taken to allow good management of the
• Ecology – The impact of the dwelling on the local ecosystem, bio-diversity and land use
In 2010 Code level 3 compliance became mandatory for public and private sector new-build residences, including flats and houses, effectively making redundant the use of code levels 1 & 2. Currently, compliance with higher levels of the Code is voluntary, with a long-term view for step-change increases. However, by making the information routinely available consumers are encouraged to be more demanding whilst also serving as an incentive for developers to consider building to the Code’s higher standards.
Technical guidance is amended on a six-monthly basis, every April and October to reflect changes in materials and building techniques resulting from feedback from assessors and industry. There are also changes in the figures used relative to Approved Document Part L1A of the building regulations, for example the thermal standards set in Part L October 2010 make redundant the thermal standards of the Code for Sustainable Homes levels 1-3. This is representative of the Building Regulation's gradual improvement of thermal standards, level 4 Code thermal standards are set be part of the Building Regulations by 2013.
The extra-over cost of building to Code Level 3, based on a building with a footprint of 100m² is valued between around £10,000-16,000, additionally the Code assessment costs around £2000 for a typical residential dwelling, the total cost of this is typically under 12% of a standard build. This includes such items as rainwater harvesting, solar thermal panels for hot water and electric. It should be understood that whilst the cost of developing to Code 3 and higher standards incurs the initial extra costs, substantial savings will be made in terms of the running costs, and importantly reduce the environmental impact both during construction and over the life of the building.