Code for Sustainable Homes

The house building industry faces a significant challenge in coming years to be able to meet mandatory sustainability standards.

Builders, developers, planners, architects, designers, quantity surveyors, materials suppliers and product manufacturers will all be affected.

The Code for Sustainable Homes, launched on 13th December 2006, is the national standard for sustainable design and construction. It is a comprehensive environmental assessment applicable to new build residential developments.

The Code assesses each building against the following nine environmental principles:

  1. Energy & CO2 emissions
  2. Water usage
  3. Materials
  4. Surface water run-off
  5. Waste
  6. Pollution
  7. Health & Well-being
  8. Management
  9. Ecology

Points are awarded for performance against each principle and an overall level between 1* and 6* is calculated at the end of the process. (The highest level, Code 6*, being a zero carbon home).

Code assessment is carried out in two stages:

  • An initial assessment is undertaken based on design drawings and specifications and a star rating (level) is given
  • A final assessment is then undertaken once the development has been completed. Records and visual inspections are required, to ensure that the design has been carried out in accordance with the initial specification and still merits the initial rating (if this is not the case, then the star rating will be recalculated according to what has actually been constructed)

The progressive implementation of the Code for Sustainable Homes will be driven by legislation as the government seeks to achieve its climate change targets.


  • All publicly funded residential developments must reach Code Level 3
  • In Wales, all new dwellings are required to attain a level of the Code
  • Code level 3 compliance in England is currently voluntary. However, this is expected to change and become mandatory in the very near future
  • If a Code assessment is undertaken, developers will need to demonstrate compliance at the planning application stage

The Benefits

As well as benefiting the environment and consumers, compliance with the Code for Sustainable Homes will benefit house builders:

  • Homes built to the Code standard, will result in lower running costs for future residents and this should increase the value and desirability of the property
  • Developers can use the Code to demonstrate their environmental credentials and in so doing, positively differentiate themselves from their competitors
  • The Code will link standards of energy efficiency to the future direction of building regulations. Using the Code will therefore provide more certainty for home builders as they perform their business and investment planning
  • Homes built to the Code standard will enhance the comfort and satisfaction of residents, leading to more satisfied customers
  • Overall the Code offers a standout badge of environmental stability both in the way a house has been constructed and its ongoing environmental impact

How We Can Help

Our expertise includes Code for Sustainable Homes assessments and our services include:

  • An introductory meeting to explain all the issues involved in attaining a Code rating, including a sample assessment of a project at design stage
  • A Code assessment service tailored to the client and project requirements
  • Our qualified assessors are allocated to each project and will be your single point of contact for all technical matters throughout the construction process. This contact allows the assessor to fully understand the project and your construction methods. The assessor should be part of the design team from inception, as the intended Code rating will have implications for all aspects of the proposal
  • As well as completing a full Code assessment, we can undertake Sur 1 & 2 assessments for development sizes ranging from a single dwelling to large residential estates, in order to satisfy the drainage & flood risk elements of the Code for Sustainable Homes

Click here for case study examples.

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