Government shake-up of housing regulations likely to cause confusion, affect quality and slow down delivery warns UK-GBC
News that the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has set up a group to ‘rationalise’ all building regulations and national and local housing standards has met with concern from the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).
UK-GBC warns that this no holds barred, wide-ranging shake-up, which follows the biggest overhaul in planning regulations of recent times, risks actually hindering housebuilding efforts, rather than stimulating the sector by creating more uncertainty for housebuilders. The review will almost certainly also result in poorer quality homes built to lower environmental and social standards.
CLG’s panel will be looking at all regulations and standards associated with the quality of housing, including issues such as:
- Structural safety
- Fire safety
- Toxic substances
- Conservation of fuel and power
- Access and facilities for people with disabilities
- Electrical safety.
The review also includes an objective to ‘Deliver a mechanism, legislative or otherwise to ensure that local authorities cannot layer on any additional rules and standards through the planning system, beyond those left at the end of the review’, an objective which seems at odds with the localism agenda.
Paul King, CEO, UK Green Building Council comments:
“This review has gone from being a sensible look at rationalizing and updating voluntary standards for house building, to a full blown de-regulation frenzy. Building regulations may not set the pulse racing, but they do some pretty important things – prevent houses from falling down, catching fire and wasting vast amounts of energy. Housebuilders have not been calling for a bonfire of building regulations, what they really need is mortgage finance and institutional investment to get the industry moving and policy clarity to deliver the homes we urgently need. This new upheaval, following hot on the heels of the biggest shake up of the planning system in living memory, instead creates a fog of uncertainty, and is much more likely to act as a brake on housing delivery, than an accelerator."
Paul King is available for interviews - please call 07816 166 607 to arrange.
The UK Green Building Council’s mission is to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment, by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated. We are a membership organisation, launched in 2007, primarily consisting of businesses from across the industry. Uniquely, we bring together anyone involved in the complex process of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and operating buildings, along with NGOs, academic institutions and government agencies.