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 Code For Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes (CFSH) is seen as the benchmark for the sustainable design of new homes and the construction of the new homes. Designed to encourage the reduction of carbon emissions, it creates homes that are much more sustainable. Most levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes are voluntary.  It was mandatory when it replaced the EcoHomes schem until 21st May 2010.

The Code for Sustainable Homes works by assigning each new home a rating from 1 to 6.  A score of 1 proves that the building has standards slightly higher than Building Regulations specifies.  A 6 indicates that the house provides an exemplary example of a sustainable building.


Every new home is assessed by the 9 categories below:

  • Energy and CO2 Emissions – measures how much CO2 is emitted both from the home and as a consequence of operating the home.
  • Water – homes must prove that they have used certain water saving measures to meet different levels of the code.
  • Materials – how the materials are sourced, as well as the environmental impact they have, are both considered.
  • Surface Water Run-Off – surface water must be managed effectively and flood risk must be minimised.
  • Waste – there must be provisions made to recycle waste and compost. Building materials must also be kept to a minimum and recycled/reused where appropriate.
  • Pollution – certain factors must be present in order to reduce global warming, such as insulation.
  • Health and Well-Being – factors such as sound insulation, good daylight and adaptability need to be present, in order to increase a potential owner’s quality of life.
  • Management – The impact construction has on the environment must be minimised, and security provisions should be designed into the home.
  • Ecology – the land should be built on efficiently, plus the local area’s ecology should be enhanced and protected by the construction of the new building.
What Needs to Be Provided to Complete CODE for Sustainable Homes?
  • A complete set of architectural drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations and site plan).
  • An architect’s specification, or if you do not have one a completed data collection sheet.

There are many different factors to consider when trying to build in accordance with the Code for Sustainable Homes, and we are able to assist with any planning needed in order to ensure that the desired Code Level is reached by your new development.

As the Code for Sustainable Homes is relatively new, there are bound to be many questions you need answering. Below we have tried to list the most common ones, in the hope that you can find a quick and insightful answer to your query. For any other questions, please call us today and speak to one of our highly trained team.

When is the Assessment Carried Out?

There are two phases to the Code for Sustainable Homes assessment. The first stage is carried out during the design phase and used the new home’s documentation in order to produce an interim certificate of compliance. In order to complete this stage, we will need to receive documents such as architectural plans from you.

The second stage is carried out once the home has been completed. It uses the initial assessment as a base and checks to make sure all original plans have been complied with. To fulfil this part of the assessment, we will need to visit the site and perform an inspection. Once this is done satisfactorily a final certificate of compliance is issued.

When is the Code for Sustainable Homes Mandatory?

As already mentioned, it is not mandatory to take part in the Code for Sustainable Homes, however there are three exceptions to this rule. The following types of new housing must meet certain standards:

  • New housing benefitting from Homes and Communities Agency funding must be of CSH Level 3 or higher.
  • New housing from the Welsh Assembly Government must reach a grade of Level 3 or higher.
  • All new social housing in Northern Ireland must be at least Level 3.
  • Where Local Planning Authorities have included a CSH Target as a planning condition/ policy.

It is also very important that you check with your local authority to ensure that they do not require certain Code for Sustainable Homes standards to be met in order for them to grant planning permission. If they do, make sure you understand the various stipulations that they have in place and then design plans that meet them.

How are the Levels of New Homes Calculated?

In order to come up with the final level of a building, there are many different factors to consider. The assessor will look down the list of the nine categories and find that each of these have many different subcategories within them. Whenever the requirements of a subcategory are met, the building receives one mark. These marks are then added together and, depending on how many are received, an overall grade is awarded, ranging from Level 1 through to Level 6.

What Do the Different Levels Mean?

The levels are used to show how sustainable a new home is deemed to be. Each level represents how much better the building is than the basic requirements laid down in Part L1A of the 2006 Building Regulations. The levels and their corresponding meanings are listed below:

  • Level 1 – 10%
  • Level 2 – 18%
  • Level 3 – 25%
  • Level 4 – 44%
  • Level 5 – 100%
  • Level 6 – zero carbon
Why Get a Code for Sustainable Homes Assessment?

We’ve already mentioned that the majority of new homes do not have to meet any of the standards laid down within the Code for Sustainable Homes. In this case then, why do so many people choose to have them completed on a new home being built?

Why Use Us?

UK Building Compliance have a great reputation in the field of the Code for Sustainable Homes. We have provided accurate and fair assessments for a number of years and our team are highly trained and exceedingly professional.

Some of the many reasons to use UK Building Compliance include:

  • Cost effective, yet highly detailed, Code for Sustainable Homes assessment, regardless of the size of the new home.
  • Free consultation regarding your project.
  • UK wide coverage.
  • We offer various other services which complement the Code for Sustainable Homes – see the bottom of this page for more details.

Please contact us today for more information. You can call us on 01455 634 855. Or alternatively fill in our online enquiry form.