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2 July 2011

Building standards under scrutiny

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by Gill Montia

Building standards under scrutiny

A new steering group has been set up jointly by the Local Government Group and Home Builders’ Federation to look at reducing the complexity of UK home building standards.

Sir John Harman, a former Environment Agency chairman, will head the group, which will:

Oversee work to simplify, harmonise and declutter the “minefield” of building standards applied to new housing.

Provide advice to councils and developers on the best way to conduct plan level viability studies, so as to ensure necessary housing development is not blocked by unrealistic expectations or policies.

The work will support the new National Planning Policy Framework, due to be published early in 2012.

Commenting on the initiative, Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, says: “Working with the industry, councils must do everything they can to ensure that any new developments both meet the needs of the local community, but also remain viable to enable projects to get off the ground.”

He adds: “I look forward to seeing the recommendations of this new group, and working with them as we continue to make radical reforms to the planning system so communities can have more of a say and see the benefits of growth in their neighbourhoods.”

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