Code for Sustainable Homes – The Info

Whether you’re a Build Developer or a Self-Builder, the Code for Sustainable Homes will be a significant planning consideration for you.

Many UK councils are now demanding a minimum Code for Sustainable Homes level in relation to new build design and construction.

Hilsdon Holmes recognises that it is crucial for clients to understand the requirements being made, and to start planning for a successful assessment from the commencement of their build project.

Information about the Code for Sustainable Homes

This is part of the UK’s roadmap towards the ideal of a zero carbon home. The Code for Sustainable Homes will apply to all new homes being built in the UK and – crucially – it has been adopted by Communities and Local Government (CLG). 

The Code has a measurement of 1-6 with 6 signifying zero carbon. The assessment method utilised by the Code is designed to encourage builders to work towards continuous improvement in sustainable home planning and building.

Is the Code For Sustainable Homes Assessment Something I Need?

Since May 2008 a Code rating has been mandatory for new builds. Since that date, you are required either to a) provide an assessment, or b) provide a ‘Nil Rated’ certificate which demonstrates that you have decided not to have an assessment.

Code Level 3 has been a minimum requirement by many Planning Authorities for some time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Code does not apply in Scotland.

How Will This Affect Me?

A report 2010 suggested that the impact would be quite severe; it suggested that it cost on average an extra £1,128 per build extra to meet Code Level 3. This estimate has since been lowered, but the implication of extra costs remains.

We advise clients that the best way to approach a successful Code Rating is to take a ‘fabric first’ approach when designing your build. If the building envelope performs well you are unlikely to need expensive renewables and technologies.

There are 9 categories which are assessed by the Code for Sustainable Homes. Energy comes top of the list, but water use and ecology are also important and highly weighted elements. Selected elements are mandatory, others are optional enhancement credits.

If you want to know more about the Code for Sustainable Homes we would suggest:

If you would like to discuss the Code for Sustainable Homes further, just give us a call on 01579 382202, or email us at