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Within the last fortnight two strategic policy documents have been published in England: the London Plan Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance on Sustainable Design and Construction (published by the Greater London Authority) and the conclusions of the Housing Standards Review, setting out new Nationally Described Standards, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Both these documents are currently subject to consultation, with comments required by the 21 October and 22 October 2013 respectively.

Below is a comparison of these documents, indicating their position on key topic areas.

  Housing Standards Review – Preferred Option Draft SPG (London) – Sustainable Design and Construction
CO2 Reduction Performance standards to be set only in the Building Regulations. Unlikely that a further interim target would be set prior to 2016. The London Plan (Policy 5.2) states the following CO2 reduction targets over 2010 Building Regulations for residential buildings:
2010 – 2013 – 25% reduction
2013 – 2016 – 40% reduction
2016 – 2031 – Zero Carbon
The switch to a 40% reduction on 2010 regulations is confirmed to take effect from 1st October 2013.
Energy/ Renewables Performance standards to be set only in the Building Regulations. Developers should be free to decide the most appropriate solutions to meet Building Regulations. Major developments should incorporate renewable energy technologies to minimise overall carbon dioxide emissions, where feasible.
Allowable Solutions Performance standards to be set only in the Building Regulations. Boroughs should establish a carbon off-set fund and identify suitable projects to be funded.
Boroughs may either agree with a developer to directly off-set CO2 off-site, or accept a cash payment in-lieu.
Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Proposes the role of the CSH to be wound down. Reference made to the CSH throughout the document.
Water Conservation Performance standards to be two-tiered – i.e. a regulated, national baseline (125 litre/person/day) and a more efficient standard (110 litres/person/day). Local authorities could adopt the higher standard as part of a wider approach to water efficiency in drier locations. London Plan requires that residential schemes must not exceed water consumption rate of 105 litres/person/day.
Developers to maximise the opportunities for water saving measures in all developments, including reuse and using alternative sources of water.
The fittings based approach can be used instead of the calculator where the scheme is not Code assessed, aiming for AECB ‘best practice’ standards.
All developments should be designed to incorporate rainwater harvesting.
Compliance may be demonstrated with the water efficiency calculator, or a fittings-based approach stating maximum flow rates.
Materials Not to be included within Building Regulations or Nationally Described Standards. No compelling case for Local Authority standard-setting. Developers encouraged to use the BRE Green Guide when selecting construction materials, with at least 3 of the 5 key elements of the building envelope achieving a rating of A+ to D.
Developers and designers should specify materials from suppliers who participate in schemes such as BRE BES 6001:2008 or FSC.
Materials should also be robust, low maintenance and long lasting to suit location and use.