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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.
Both standards are voluntary. However if your development is funded by a body such as the HCA, then there may be a requirement to meet a certain benchmark against one of the schemes. Local authorities can also set sustainability targets as a planning condition which will usually have a Code or BREEAM requirement.
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.