1. START EARLY
The Code Assessor is an important member of the team, who will not only be responsible for completing the Code compliance requirements for the development, but can also assist on which credits should be aimed for and how they can be achieved. It is recommended that a core team is formed, to include the developer, architect, civil engineer, an ecologist and SAP assessor. By doing this at the planning application stage, easily achievable credits will not be lost and mandatory credits complied with. Some credits can be achieved more easily if they are integrated into the design at the earliest stage e.g. orientating roofs and living spaces to the south to make optimum use of solar energy.
2. TARGET THE ‘EASY-WIN’ CREDITS
Several credits can be achieved through measures which are independent of the design. This includes simple measures such as energy-efficient light fittings and a drying line. These will be cost-effective to specify in most developments. Ecological enhancements should also be promoted due to their credit weighting.
3. CONSIDER THE SITE SPECIFIC CREDITS
By considering factors such as flood risk and ecological value at an early stage, a baseline Code score can be assessed. Sites with a high ecological value or with a risk of flooding are likely to increase the cost of achieving a high Code rating. An ecological survey carried out in accordance with the Code Guidance will still be worthwhile as a means of improving the score for most sites, although the number of credits that can be achieved on Greenfield sites will be limited. Areas of flood risk or those on Greenfield will also determine the drainage strategy in meeting the Mandatory SUR1 Issue.
4. EFFECTIVE CONSTRUCTION AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Implementing measures at the construction stage in relation to the monitoring of water and/or energy use and reducing the risk of pollution can be a cost-effective way to improve your Code score, but this does require preparation in advance of starting on site so that procedures are in place and the workforce are aware of them. In particular, a Site Waste Management Plan is a mandatory requirement (for developments costing more than £300,000.00) that must be given early consideration. Modern Methods of Construction using offsite construction can help make this process easier.
5. FACTOR IN THE SUR1 ISSUES AT PLANNING
Paying early attention to the potential incorporation of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems can be cost-effective and provides amenity value through the use of water features such as ponds and swales. The mandatory SUR1 requirement to reduce runoff volumes, and not just peak runoff rates, is an important one to get right, necessitating full consideration of infiltration and rainwater harvesting opportunities, particularly on Greenfield sites. Rainwater harvesting can contribute to reducing surface water runoff and reduce internal water consumption, but this needs very careful design to meet the requirements of both.
6. PLAN THE LAYOUT TO PROVIDE THE SPACE YOU NEED
Considering the site layout from an early stage offers the best opportunity to include the space requirements for highly weighted Lifetime Homes credits, and a design that enables direct access to rear gardens ensures that garden sheds can be used for cycle storage facilities.
7. CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF YOUR MATERIALS
Looking at the proposed construction materials means that most construction types can perform well . there are many equivalent products with low environmental performance. There is a mandatory requirement for at least 3 building elements to achieve at least a D rating under the BRE Green Guide to Housing Specification.
8. MAXIMISE YOUR MANGEMENT CREDITS
High levels of credits (possible 10) should be sought in the Management Category. This involves the provision of Home User Guides to the occupants, meeting Part 2 (Physical Security) of Secured by Design award and developing site principles to reduce pollution and nuisance to the area in close proximity to the development during construction. This Category can actually provide cost savings to the developer, and real and tangible benefits to the new occupants and exisiting residents in the surrounding area.
9. INSULATE TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE AND REDUCE CONSUMPTION
Designing the building fabric to achieve good sound performance and air tightness and to avoid thermal bridges requires many of the same principles and can help achieve credits in several different areas. Building fabric with a high thermal performance will help reduce carbon emissions and provide benefits to residents for the full lifetime of the building.
10. EMPLOY STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE ENERGY SOURCES
Developers should ensure that a strategy is in place for the incorporation of low and zero carbon technologies. Almost all developments will need these technologies to meet Code Level 3 or higher, and the mandatory requirements for carbon dioxide emissions can be very expensive or impractical to achieve unless their integration is planned from the start.