Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH)

The Code for Sustainable Homes is a comprehensive measure of the sustainability of new homes. It was introduced in April 2007 by the BRE to replace EcoHomes 2006 for new build dwellings. All developments funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are required to achieve a minimum Code Level 3.

Developments are given a score of between Code Level  1 – 6, one being the lowest and six being the highest also indicating zero carbon. Developments are assessed at both the design stage and post construction, this allows the assessor to view and assess the commitments made by the developer.

The assessment comprises six mandatory elements (seven if a Code Level 6 is to be achieved) these must be achieved for all Code Levels. In addition to the mandatory elements there are a number of ‘tradable’ credits which do not have to be achieved but do form the remaining credits required for the assessment.  

Mandatory Credits to achieve Code Level 3 (as required by the Homes and Communities Agency) :

  • Dwelling Emission Rate not exceeding the calculated Target Emission Rate (this equates to a 25% over Approved Document L1a 2006).
  • < 105 litres/person/day for internal water consumption
  • At least three of the following must achieve an A+ to D rating under the Green Guide: Roof, External Wall, Internal Walls, Upper and Ground Floors, and Windows
  • A suitably qualified engineer must be employed to calculate the peak run off rate and run off volume for the site in accordance with guidance given in the National Planning Policy Framework.
  • Storage of non recyclable household waste should be in accordance with BS 5906 with a local authority collection scheme and sufficient access to containers for the disabled.
  • A site waste management plan should be implemented to monitor and report waste generated on site.

Additional Credits can be made up from the following:

  • Fabric Energy Efficiency
  • Energy Display Devices
  • Energy efficient light fittings
  • Sufficient drying facilities
  • Cycle storage
  • Home office facilities
  • Where possible the incorporation and sufficient calculation of low or zero carbon technologies
  • Water butts or similar
  • Responsible sourcing of materials including insulation with a GWP of <5
  • Compost and recycling facilities
  • Sufficient levels of daylighting and a view of sky to all habitable rooms
  • Sound insulation values at or above the Building Regulation requirement
  • Provision of home user guides
  • Implementing site waste management programmes and policies
  • Incorporation of the Considerate Constructors scheme or similar
  • Employing an Architectural Liaison Officer and incorporating their recommendations into the design
  • Employing an ecological consultant to assess the site and make recommendations for improvement (this should be done as soon as possible to allow for recommendations to be incorporated)

Whilst this list is not exhaustive it highlights criteria all developments should strive to achieve. It is also noted that every scheme is assessed individually and what works for one cannot guarantee compliance for another.

Ellis Belk Associates undertake both design stage and post completion assessments, however we also utilise pre assessment estimating tools to analyse potential Code achievement at an early stage in the development process. Our knowledge and expertise of the Code for Sustainable Homes enables us to recommend suitable strategies for achievement and where possible highlight a number of scenarios for adoption.