Future Homes Standard Consultation: Have your say by 7 February 2020

The government is carrying out a consultation on new draft building regulations, called the Future Homes Standard. The current draft is causing some concern. First, it is not ambitious enough, and may prevent local councils from achieving their zero carbon targets by 2030. Second, it could actually result in homes being built to a poorer standard compared to present regulations.

How to respond

The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) has done a great job of explaining the issues here, even identifying how you can respond to the consultation questions. The first link here is to a quick PDF primer (115KB), while the second here is to the consulation questions and draft answers (94KB). Although the consultation is rather long, and gets technical quickly, it would in fact be sufficient to provide answers to just four of the first five questions (if you want to respond to more, go for it!).

Having read LETI’s guidance, please do use your own wording to respond, so that your responses are counted separately and not simply marked as duplicates and discounted. Please also consider emailing your MP and calling on them to take part. You can take part in the consultation simply by emailing: FutureHomesStandardConsultation@communities.gov.uk

The Issues

The first five question of the consultation concern targets, timescales, fabric performance and local councils. As LETI notes:

  • The Future Homes Standard 2020 does not promote a well- insulated building fabric, in fact under the new regulations new homes could be less insulated in 2020 than under Building Regulations 2013.
  • The more we can insulate our homes the less energy they will use for heating. We should not be designing and building homes that will need retrofitting with additional insulation in the future. A well-insulated building represents our greatest chance of meeting our climate commitments in new homes.

London Borough of Ealing has declared a climate emergency and is committed to reaching zero carbon by 2030. The current Future Homes Standard does not acknowledge that 100% of buildings designed and built by 2025 must be Net Zero if we hope to achieve those goals.

Further, the science is clear that 2050 is far too late a target, and that setting regulations with that end goal is reckless. We must be building to meet Net Zero, beginning immediately.

Taking away the ability of local authorities to set building regulation standards above the UK standard would set housing back a full decade. Local authorities know their housing stock and can plan local efficiency strategies which make the most sense for those properties.

Just taking 10 to 15 minutes to respond to the consultation could make a huge difference. The consultation closes on 7 February 2020.