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NHBC welcomes proposals to consolidate housing standards

NHBC has this week welcomed the consultation on the Housing Standards Review. The proposals build on the work to develop a Local Housing Standards Framework (LSF) and the subsequent Harman Review of Local Standards.

NHBC was closely involved in both the LSF and the Harman Review. Many of the Harman Review's recommendations have been taken forward in the consultation document including:

  •  The urgent need for rationalisation, simplification and consolidation of the current large number of locally applied standards;
  • The establishment of an industry and stakeholder panel that completed a more detailed review of local standards and could maintain any resulting slimmed down set of standards
  • The inclusion in national Building Regulations, where appropriate, of technical requirements from the reduced set of standards.

Ian Davis, NHBC's Operations Director, chaired the Harman Review's Standards Working Group and was a member of the government led steering group that helped to develop the consultation proposals.

Davis said, "NHBC is pleased that much of what was recommended in the Harman Review has been developed in the consultation proposals. Slimming down the range of standards that are applied locally will help maintain the growth in the housing market. It will ensure quality for home buyers while increasing certainty for builders. Also, including the technical elements of these standards in the national Building Regulations will raise standards as they will apply to all homes not just a few".

In response to the suggestion that space labelling should be adopted voluntarily and that it could be introduced through the Consumer Code for Home Builders, Davis said: "The debate about the need for space standards was the most challenging in the recent review. The idea of builders declaring the size of the home they are selling is worth considering. As the consultation document notes, this information is already available through the energy performance certificate produced for each home".

Davis also noted that the consultation recognised that homebuyer's satisfaction with their new home is at an all-time high. The National New Home Customer Satisfaction Survey, which is conducted independently by NHBC, shows that over 90% of home buyers would recommend their builder.

Since October 2012, the survey has also asked homebuyers' views on the internal design and layout of their new home. Over 93% say they are satisfied; indicating a high level of satisfaction with the way space is used in their home. However, fewer buyers, 75% are satisfied with the storage space provided.

News Date: 22/08/13