Building Control Building Control

Case studies:

North West Cambridge Development

North West Cambridge Development - Phase One (Dwellings)







The North West Cambridge Development includes 3,000 homes, of which about 1,100 will be available in  the first phase. All homes will be built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5. The North West Cambridge Development will have approximately two-thirds of all the homes ever built at this level.

Design Stage certification has been achieved for all Lots currently on site, and will be undertaking final certification at the end of 2016.

Key features

Rainwater Harvesting for WC flushing, ASHP and solar thermal panels.


  • Energy: District CHP and Energy Centre. Photovoltaic panels.
  • Water: All dwellings consume 80 l/p/d through a combination of non-potable supply to WCs, low flow rate sanitary ware and water efficient washing machines and dishwashers. External irrigation taps are connected to the site wide non-potable supply.
  • Ventilation: Predominantly natural ventilation with acoustic ventilation units in some dwellings.
  • Acoustics: All dwellings will achieve a 8dB improvement over Approved Document Part E for impact and airborne sound.


  • CEMP: Principal contractors are required to achieve significantly beyond best practice under CCS, and monitor construction consumption on site, as well as adopting best practice policy for air and water pollution.


  • Materials: Apartment blocks are typically constructed from insitu concrete frame with steel frame system infill.

    Insitu concrete is prevalent for floor and roof construction and for the piled foundations which the clayey ground conditions have dictated.

    Lot 08 apartments adopt traditional masonry construction.

    Brickwork is the predominant external wall finish across all the Lots, which was a client desire from the early concept of the design.

    A variety of roof finishes have been utilised, mostly with an inverted structure in order to accommodate the photovoltaic arrays required. Blue roofs, green roofs and brown roofs are all specified.

    Most windows are double glazed, with triple glazing where required to meet FEEs. Architects have largely chosen aluminium clad timber windows.

  • Security: All dwellings will meet Secured by Design Part 2.

Site issues

  • Waste: Communal underground bins for recycling and waste for domestic use. Communal composting facilities for every Lot.
  • Access: All dwellings will achieve Lifetime Homes standards, and also the Inclusive Design Principles required by the Code for Sustainable Homes.
  • Drainage: Site wide drainage infrastructure addresses rates and volume of storm water through a variety of SuDS including balancing lagoons to the Western edge. Water collected is treated and then returned to the dwellings for WC flushing.
  • Ecology: Ecology was considered on a site wide basis, however each of the lots were required to create habitat for wildlife, including bird boxes and in some cases wildlife friendly/native planting schemes.


NHBC were appointed by the University in September 2012 to provide consultancy and certification services. Achieving Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) level 5 on a greenfield site was always going to be a challenge.

Enhancing ecological value was an early objective. However the CfSH assessment was inherently limited in terms of gaining ecological credits – despite all landscaping to the western edge and green corridors through the scheme.

Limits on building heights due to planning restrictions also reduced the potential to pick up full footprint credits.

The result of this was that almost every other credit available in the assessment needed to be gained to achieve CfSH level 5.

NHBC worked alongside the design teams to ensure that building physics worked – balancing the needs of daylighting, ventilation and Fabric Energy Efficiency. Detailed analysis was undertaken at a significantly earlier stage to ensure the design achieved compliance.

The high level of insulation required to meet the energy requirements heavily influenced the structural design of the dwellings, with most Lots adopting framed construction to allow large depths of insulation in external walls.

The additional insulation also meant that Bespoke Green Guide ratings were required. This reduced some of the ratings and therefore credits achieved. As a result many of the dwellings targeted full credits for responsible sourcing of materials. NHBC provided early and ongoing calculation and accreditation advice to assist the teams to achieve this.

NHBC are working with the University of Cambridge to share knowledge gained from this highly complex project.

Other case studies

North West Cambridge Development

North West Cambridge Development, Phase One

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North West Cambridge Development

North West Cambridge Development, Lot 6

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Hookstone Chase

Arncliffe Homes, Harrogate

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Anglia Ruskin University

Mulalley, Cambridge

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Livity School

Mulalley, London

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