Last year the UK Government issued its conclusion to the Housing Standards Review. In an effort to streamline systems the Government has officially put an end to the Code for Sustainable Homes (Code).
Image: Freeimages.com/St. Mattox
Under the changes, local authorities will no longer be able to require levels of the Code as a planning condition for residential developments. However, where developments are legally contracted to apply a Code policy (i.e. affordable housing funded through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2015-18), or where a case has been granted permission subject to a Code condition stipulating discharge of a Code level, legacy arrangements will apply and these development will still need to be assessed under the Code. In response to the Government’s decision to scrap the Code, BRE introduced The Home Quality Mark, a tool very similar to BREEAM but specifically designed for new dwellings. The new standard came into force in late 2015 and Thomas Vazakas from RPS is an accredited assessor.
Local Planning Authorities who currently require BREEAM excellent on non-domestic buildings are still able to implement this policy as it falls outside the scope of residential and therefore the Code for Sustainable Homes.
As RPS has extensive experience in sustainability assessments and also in guiding projects through the planning process, we are ideally placed to assist organisations in understanding the impact of these legislative changes and effectively and efficiently navigating them within a project delivery environment.
There are numerous different types of BREEAM schemes and assessors are often qualified in a number of these schemes, but rarely all. RPS has a team of licensed and qualified assessors covering all building types. The RPS Sustainability team operates a consolidated BREEAM service covered by one main RPS License.
RPS’ BREEAM service has seen strong growth over the last few years and we have developed a core group of BREEAM, Sustainability and Energy Assessors across RPS to provide the necessary skills and experience required to advise developers and complete assessments, which is proving to be very successful.
RPS guides and advises design and construction teams on the most commercially sensitive approach to BREEAM Assessments, providing BREEAM Accredited Professional services and full assessment services at design and post construction stages. We use the BRE recognised software ‘TrackerPlus’ to deliver our BREEAM services in a cost effective and well managed manner.
Our team includes BREEAM Accredited Professionals and licensed BREEAM Assessors covering the full range of BREEAM assessments including:
BREEAM New Construction (offices, retail, industrial, multi-residential, healthcare, education, prisons, courts and other buildings)
BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out
BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment
BREEAM In Use
Code for Sustainable Homes
Home Quality Mark
In addition RPS' sustainability team is accredited in carrying out SKA assessment (for fit out works in offices and retail). Recently featured in the UK Government's Low Carbon Action Plan, SKA rating is an environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit-outs, led and owned by RICS. The main difference with BREEAM is that SKA only assesses the fit-out works not the whole building.
Finally RPS' sustainability team is accredited in carrying out CEEQUAL assessment (for for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and works in public spaces). Operators of the BREEAM scheme, BRE Global, acquired CEEEQUAL in November 2015 aiming to develop a combined sustainability scheme for infrastructure. CEEQUAL continues to operate as normal in the meantime.