Issue - decisions

Report of the Housing Design Standards Task and Finish Group

08/09/2021 - Report of the working group on Housing Design Standards



That the report included as Annexe 1 be agreed and its recommendations be adopted with one amendment to recommendation 12:


That the Working Group’s recommendations as amended below be endorsed:


1.    Retain the standards set out in Annexe 1, Appendix A

2.    New homes shall be built with alternative heat sources to gas boilers.

3.    The design standards should be mindful of facilitating parcel deliveries and reducing the strain on those making deliveries of parcels and letters.

4.    Set standards for the future and explicitly connect the Council’s housing design standards and its asset management plan in order to avoid retrofits.

5.    The Council implements the SAP 10 assessment methodology as part of the assessment process to deliver net zero carbon homes.

6.    The Council should align its plans for future developments with the timeframes contained in the “LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide”.

7.    The Council should work with our contractors and their supply chains through the tender process to work to achieve carbon neutrality as measured by a RICS whole life carbon assessment by 2030.

8.    All new properties developed by the Council should receive a SAP rating of 100 to enable them to be Energy Efficiency A-rated with an Environmental Rating 99A (CO2 emission rate 0 tonnes/year) – net zero carbon in operation.

9.    The Council should make the budgetary provision necessary to achieve the standards outlined in this report to deliver a net zero home in operation measured using Part L 2021.

10. That the Council should not pursue Passivhaus accreditation unless there is a compelling additional reason to do so, for example, if grant funding is conditional upon achieving it.

11. New occupants of any mechanically ventilated properties should be provided with sufficient information and training to ensure the property performs in operation as in design.

12. The Council should design and build homes such that renewable energy can be generated on-site to achieve the best results in terms of the standards set out in Recommendation 8 given the range of technologies and fabric measures available.

13. The Council should build homes using modern methods of construction, for example, timber frame.

14. The Council shall update the standards for new build properties in light of Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (Final Report) [May 2018] by Dame Judith Hackitt.

15. The Council should seek and apply best practice in the design of space for refuse and recycling containers.

16. Addition of further in-use sound test sampling as part of the Employer’s Requirements.

17. All new Council properties should be built on the assumption that during their lifespan electric vehicles will entirely displace those powered by internal combustion engines. This means providing charging infrastructure on parking spaces provided on land owned or controlled by the Council. Where parking spaces are provided elsewhere, the Council should ensure the necessary conduits are installed to allow for the easy installation of charging infrastructure if the demand arises.

18. Where the scale of provision on a given site makes it feasible, the development should make a contribution to improving walk- and cycle ways in the area.

19. For properties with good access to public transport, the Council should assess the feasibility of planning policies that provide a degree of flexibility for the minimum number of parking spaces to include pull-in or visitor spaces for short stays by emergency and delivery vehicles in place of residents parking.

20. Developers design in an arrangement for tenants without in-curtilage parking provision to be charged for electricity supplied to communal parking areas for vehicle charging points.

21. That for any future Council-lead development, an assessment in light of the considerations in Building for a Healthy Life should be undertaken and published.

22. The Council should work with appointed architects, contractors and Designing Out Crime Officers to improve the securing of buildings and adopt crime prevention measures across the site.

23. For new builds to continue to achieve <105 litres of water per person per day.

24. The Council should facilitate rainwater harvesting through the provision of water buts and for larger sites consider the larger systems such as underwater storage tanks.

25. The Council should, as a matter of routine, survey tenants of new homes about their experience of living in them within six months of them moving into the property.

26. The Council should explore the possibility of engaging external expertise to use qualitative research methods including depth interviews and focus groups to gain a more nuanced understanding of the experiences of new tenants.

27. The Council should implement a co-design process for new homes with a representative from the Tenants Panel.

28. Officers should produce a user-facing brochure and update the technical employer's requirements based on the recommendations of the Group. The user-facing brochure should be considered and agreed upon with the Tenants Panel.

[This matter has already been considered by the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.]