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Residential Services / CSH Assessments

Code for Sustainable Homes is an assessment process required for all Government funded social housing. It is also increasingly required by planning authorities for all new developments.

Even when the Code for Sustainable Homes is not mandatory achieving Code certification can give Home Builders a marketing advantage; showing potential purchasers that the homes are cheaper to run and have been built to high environmental standards.

Our experienced Code Assessors will guide you through the process from concept to completion, providing clear and cost effective advice throughout.

Here are a few points to consider before making a final choice of Code Assessor:

  • We provide bespoke advice tailored to meet your needs - beware of Code Assessors who only offer a “tick box” service.
  • All certificates, Day lighting, Water Use and Green Guide Calculations are included in our standard service – there are no hidden extras!
  • We have a track record of providing advice to clients that saves thousands of pounds - you can be sure we’re providing solutions that work for you.
  • We will support and guide you throughout planning and construction process - you can be confident that you’re on track to achieve the required Code Rating.

Call now to get a quote or discuss your project with one of our Code Assessors.

What is the Code for Sustainable Homes?

The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced to drive a ‘step-change’ in sustainable home building practice. Developed by the Government working closely with building industry bodies and research organisations it provides a single, national standard to guide industry in the design and construction of sustainable homes.

The Code measures the sustainability of a home against nine design categories, rating the whole home as a complete package. The categories are:

  • Energy/CO2
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Surface water run-off
  • Waste
  • Pollution
  • Health and well-being
  • Management
  • Ecology
How does the Code work?

The Code uses a sustainability rating system indicated by stars to communicate the overall performance of a home. A home can achieve a rating from one to six stars depending upon the extent to which it has achieved Code standards.

A number of the categories have mandatory minimum performance standards which must be achieved to obtain any Code for Sustainable Homes rating. Home Builders are free to choose which and how many standards they implement from the remaining categories to obtain sustainability star ratings.

The function of the Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor is to guide the client through the process, providing relevant advice and support throughout. The Assessor reviews information provided by the client and confirms whether the appropriate standards have been met, issuing certificates at initial design and completion stages.

What are the benefits for the environment?
  • Reduced CO2 emissions which in turn enable us to reduce the threat from climate change.
  • Reduced surface water run-off and improved efficiency for internal (potable) water use.
  • Encouraging the use of responsibly sourced building materials and less polluting insulation materials.
  • Improving levels of household recycling to reduce the local requirements for landfill.
What are the benefits for Home Builders?
  • The Code for Sustainable Homes can be used to demonstrate the sustainability performance of their homes and to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
  • The levels of performance for energy efficiency indicate the future direction of Building Regulations so developers can ensure they are prepared for coming changes.
  • The process provides flexibility to Home Builders so with the support of their Code Assessor they can innovate to find cost effective solutions to meet and exceed minimum requirements.
What are the benefits for Social Housing Providers?
  • Homes built to the Code for Sustainable Homes have lower running costs through greater energy and water efficiency thereby reducing potential fuel poverty for residents.
  • Homes built to the Code enhance the comfort and satisfaction of tenants resulting in reduced costs dealing with complaints.
  • The Code enables Social Housing Providers to demonstrate their sustainability credentials to the public, tenants and to funding bodies.
What are the benefits for Consumers?
  • The Code for Sustainable Homes provides valuable information to homebuyers on the sustainability performance of different homes which can be used as part of a buying decision.
  • By seeking out Code certified homes consumers will be able to encourage the building industry to build more sustainably and reduce their own ‘footprint’ on the environment.
  • Homes built to the Code standard will have lower space and water heating costs and higher levels of water efficiency.
  • Were compliance with Lifetime Homes has been achieved homes can provide enhanced capacity for future adaptability which can reduce the need for relocation and improve residual value.
How do I improve my Code for Sustainable Homes rating?

Appointing and experienced Code Assessor is vital to ensure that only necessary costs are incurred in achieving your required code rating. In addition following the steps below will ensure you get the best possible rating for your project.

  1. Appoint an SAP Assessor early

    The result of your SAP (energy performance) Calculations has a major impact on how many credits you achieve in the Energy and CO2 category. This is one the mandatory categories of the Code Assessment. Consulting an Energy Assessor at an early stage means any necessary adjustments to the specification can be included from the outset, and costly changes to works already completed can be avoided. We provide a full SAP Calculation service with support and cost effective advice to ensure your achieving the required levels of performance.

  2. Focus on building fabric

    Energy and CO2 is the single largest category in the Code assessment, so achieving the highest possible levels of fabric efficiency ensures you achieve the most credits. It also ensures your dwelling(s) continue to contribute to the low carbon environment throughout their life.

    Factors which have a beneficial effect on fabric energy efficiency include improved insulation to walls, roofs and floors, high efficiency windows and good levels of air tightness.

  3. Be realistic about air tightness

    Changes to the Building Regulations that came into effect in October 2010 have affected the way air pressure test results are recorded; any houses or apartments you do not test will be recorded as achieving the same result as the tested units plus 2 (m3/m2@50Pa). So if you achieved average results of around 5m3/m2 on your last site you need to budget for an adjusted rate of 7m2/m3 in the SAP Calculations for your next site. As an alternative you may choose to test more (or all) the dwellings - this can prove to be a cost effective way of getting a better result in your final SAP Calculations.

  4. Find space for a home office

    The Code for Sustainable Homes offers one credit in the Energy and CO2 section for providing a suitable space for a home office - you don't need to provide the furniture just the space. Most dwellings are capable of achieving this credit provided you choose the right room; generally one which has a good level of natural light.

    Once you've identified the suitable room the only additional cost is for the installation of 2 double power sockets and a double phone point, or a single phone point if you have access to broadband.

  5. Source materials from suppliers who supply CoC certificates

    The Materials section of the Code for Sustainable Homes can be an easy way to pick up credits with little or no additional cost, but you need to ensure your chosen suppliers can provide you with what you need. Suppliers of all main building elements should be able to provide Chain of Custody (CoC) and responsible sourcing certificates. Make it one of the conditions of your order to ensure the paperwork is provided.

  6. Try to get natural daylight 'designed in'

    Natural daylight is a resource available to all developments. Designing room layouts and windows to ensure the best possible use of daylight can gain low cost credits and provide a better environment for the occupiers. Credits in this category carry a high weighting value and so can make a significant contribution to the final result. As a general rule the larger the window size in relation to the room size the better.

  7. Consider drainage from the start

    Surface water drainage can be one of the most demanding sections of the Code Assessment process and can have significant cost implications. The purpose of the category is to reduce and / or delay the run-off of rain water from new developments, thereby minimising the risk of flooding downstream. If your development does not result in an increased area of impermeable surfaces, such as roofs, roads, hard standing, etc., then you should achieve the requirement by default. If the run-off area is increasing, consider 'at source' sustainable drainage systems like soak-aways or porous paving, to keep the increase to a minimum. If there is still an increase in the rate and volume of run-off then, with only specific exceptions, rain water harvesting will need to be considered.

  8. Pre-completion testing or Robust Details?

    The Code for Sustainable Homes Assessment offers credits in the Health and Wellbeing category for exceeding Building Regulations requirements for sound insulation.

    If you are planning to use Robust Details (RDs) instead of pre completion acoustic testing you need to ensure your plots are registered with RD before you start on site. RDs are standard construction solutions which can offer automatic Code credits - see for more information. Some Robust Details include the option to have cavities fully filed which can benefit your SAP Calculations and therefore your Energy and CO2 credits.

    Pre-completion testing can offer greater flexibility in the design of separating walls and floors and does not require pre-registration. Only a sample of plots need to be tested and the better they perform against Building Regulation standards the more credits can be achieved.

  9. Have a plan for site waste

    A Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) needs to be drawn up before works start on site. Guidance on the contents of the plan is available from Envirowise and the Waste & Resource Action Plan (WRAP) - see for more information. If your plan includes measures to divert over 85% of non-hazardous site waste from landfill you will achieve maximum credits in the Waste category.

  10. Look at Ecology early

    To gain maximum benefit from the Ecology category you need to act early, ideally before you undertake any site clearance; if you leave it later the opportunity to gain most of the available credits will be lost. Incorporating Ecology at the design stage is a great way to achieve high value / low cost credits. If your site appears to have little or no ecological value you can confirm this using a simple checklist. If your site does have ecological value a qualified ecologist can ensure you get the maximum credits for the minimum cost. By targeting Ecology credits you create a better environment for both humans and wildlife.

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PB Sustainability Ltd.

Office 64
The Old School
Wallasey, Wirral
CH44 5TN