New Future Homes Standard Guidance Launches

Some new Future Homes Standard guidance has been launched by the NHBC Foundation. With climate change a global topic, we look more closely at the plans and aims for the housebuilding sector when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. What can you expect in the future from new-build homes? Read on to find out…

What is the NHBC Foundation?
Firstly, you might be interested to know who or what is the NHBC Foundation. In the housebuilding industry, we all know the National Housebuilding Council (NHBC). It was established way back in 1936 to provide warranty and insurance for new homes. The company is truly independent, without shareholders, and any profits are reinvested in the business to support the future of housebuilding. Today for new-build home buyers, the NHBC offers the Buildmark policy. This is a two-year builder warranty with eight year’s insurance cover against any damage which might arise from property structural defects.

The NHBC Foundation was set up more recently in 2006. It is the research and development arm of the NHBC, funded by NHBC profits. This pioneering division helps to address the ongoing challenges of delivering new homes in the 21st century. Whichever pressing issues the housebuilding industry might face, the NHBC Foundation is likely to be involved. Representatives of the NHBC Foundation include a panel of experts from across the housebuilding industry, including academics. And the new Future Homes Standard is one such project which the NHBC Foundation is helping with.

About the Future Homes Standard
The Future Homes Standard will bring a new set of rules from 2025 to ensure that new homes built will produce less carbon emissions. Some major changes were made to the Building Regulations earlier this year to prepare for the introduction of the new Standard. These changes specified that new homes built in England would need to produce around 30% less carbon emissions compared to the old regulations. It certainly gives us a glimpse into what we can expect from the Future Homes Standard. By 2025 though, housebuilders will need to ensure that new homes produce 75% – 80% lower CO2 emissions. This will be a big step forward towards the government’s overall net zero target for 2050.

What is the new guidance?
The new guidance comes by way of a report from the NHBC Foundation. Its aim is to give advice to housebuilders on the best way of dealing with any issues which might arise from rolling out new energy saving measures in the homes they are building.
Despite the technology and construction capability being available to build homes with ‘world leading’ levels of energy efficiency, gaps in the industry remain. These centre mostly around knowledge, skills, and practice to be able to deliver futureproofed new homes reliably, and at volume. Hence the new report covers heating, ventilation, and design considerations as themes. But most importantly, the report looks at issues from a homeowner’s perspective. Will these homes be comfortable? Will they be user-friendly? And will they stand up to any changes in climate?
Such issues will continue to be addressed and discussed so that challenges can be identified, and consequences anticipated. Ultimately, these new Future Homes will need to function efficiently.

What else do we know about the Future Homes Standard?
Since the announcement of the Future Homes Standard, there have been a few changes predicted. The changes to the Buildings Regulations this year give a good idea of what we can expect. But there will be more changes once the Future Homes Standard becomes legislation in 2025.
One of the key measures to address, is overheating in homes as this is deemed a major problem in many new-build properties.
Tim Pullen who is an eco-energy expert, recently gave his opinion on the new Buildings Regulations changes which we could see in 2025. In his opinion homes will no longer be built with combi boilers and there will be mandatory space for hot water storage. He also thinks it is highly likely that heating systems will run at lower temperatures to allow heat pumps to work effectively, and there will be considerable improvements to insulation and air tightness.
But we shall have to wait and see what will definitely be in the new regulations come 2025, and what the future new-build homes will look like.

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