New builds to benefit from Home Quality Mark

The building science centre (BRE) is introducing a national quality mark for new housing that should give home buyers and renters a clear indication of the quality and performance of a new home.

new buildA number of stakeholders are currently working with BRE on the development of the Home Quality Mark from its beta testing stage.

For house builders it will provide an independent quality mark they can use to highlight the innovative features of their homes and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

What is the Home Quality Mark?

Using a simple 5-star rating, the Home Quality Mark will show the home’s overall running costs at a time when average energy bills top £1,000.

It will show the impact of the home on the occupant’s health and well-being as homes become more airtight, respiratory conditions rise and the population gets older.

The mark will demonstrate the home’s environmental footprint and its resilience to flooding and overheating in a changing climate.

Additionally, the mark will evaluate the digital connectivity and performance of the home as our reliance on new technology becomes ever more critical.

Support for the mark

Recent consumer research carried out by BRE supports the introduction of the Home Quality Mark with 97 per cent of respondents in a survey saying they would welcome it.

Chief Executive of BRE, Dr Peter Bonfield, said: “It is our long-term goal that the Home Quality Mark will become the de facto sign of a better home – something that home buyers can rely on and use in their purchase decisions.

“It will also be used by house builders to demonstrate the quality and performance of the homes they deliver.”

Independent evaluation

Homes built to the mark will be independently evaluated by licensed BRE Global assessors; and developments built to standards like Passivhaus (energy efficient homes) and the Code for Sustainable Homes can be credited under the mark where compatible criteria apply. As a voluntary mark, it signals a significant departure from previous codes and standards.

CALA Homes, one of the UK’s top ten house builders plan to trial the mark. Its chief executive Alan Brown said: “Independent benchmarking of new homes is hugely important. For CALA, it provides third-party recognition of our commitment to consistently build high quality, sustainable homes.

“For homeowners, it offers a simple and reliable measure of the energy performance of the property they are buying. We look forward to working with BRE on the new Home Quality Mark.’

Currently the mark is being trialled by building products manufacturer Wienerberger on a new project called the E4 brick house which is under construction on the BRE Innovation Park in Watford.