Code for Sustainable Homes: cut, cull or keep?

Posted on by melanie

The culling season is in full swing, and one thing in the government’s line of fire is the Code for Sustainable Homes. At risk are targets for less-tangible sustainability factors such as ecology and human well-being. Does recent history suggest the Code is worth fighting for?

Most in-coming governments – even fictional ones – feel the need to tackle ‘red tape. When Jim Hacker MP arrived to take up his post at the aptly named Department of Administrative Affairs, he declared his main priority was to “cut a swathe through” all the perceived Whitehall bureaucracy. The civil servants may have said Yes Minister, but as Hacker discovered several times during the course of three seminal TV series in the early 1980s, reducing bureaucracy does not always deliver the desired consequences.

The coalition government is like any other in its desire to reform, and is steadily progressing through the reams of regulations (some 21,000 of them) hunting out the over-pernickety or under-used diktats that have accumulated over the generations. And like Jim Hackers determination to leave no stone unturned, everything from agriculture to pensions procedures is coming under the mandarins microscopes in a bid to shed the out-of-date and out-of-favour.

The Building Regulations had their few weeks in the ‘spotlight back in early 2012 when members of the public were invited to chip in with their views via the Cabinet Offices Red Tape Challenge website. Meanwhile the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) kick-started a consultation exercise that has now reached a crucial stage: the ‘Housing standards review consultation. Among other things the consultation document proposes the phasing out of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) on the grounds that it is no longer needed due to “the progressive strengthening of Building Regulations alongside a national policy for zero carbon homes”. The irony is that one of the raisons dêtre of the CSH, back at its inception in 2005/6, was … read the full article on the NBS Sustainability hub.

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