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The Code for Sustainable Homes is a sustainability benchmark used for homes in England and Wales. Dwellings are assessed against nine categories and a level of 1-6 stars can be achieved. Code level 6 is deemed zero carbon.
EcoHomes was the standard sustainability benchmark in the UK before the Code for Sustainable Homes. The last version of EcoHomes was issued in 2006 and the scheme closed in April 2012.
BREEAM provides sustainability assessments for dwellings not covered by the Code, such as student accommodation and sheltered living, and non dwellings such as offices, retail, schools and industrial units.
Code and BREEAM have design stage and post construction assessments. The design stage should be carried out before work starts on site and the earlier this is done the better. Post construction assessments are done as the development progresses and includes site visits to ensure the design stage assessment is being followed on site.
An auditable trail of evidence is required for every credit that is claimed, this can be in the form of drawings, detailed specifications, site inspections and occasionally formal letters of intent.
There are two current versions of the Code. The May 2009 version should be used for developments where Part L 2006 applies. The November 2010 version should be used for dwellings built in accordance with Part L 2010. Previous versions of the Code can only be used if the development has been registered to a particular version in the past.