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Baker Homes Blog

New standard for homes – the Home Quality Mark hits the ground running...

Posted by Daniel Navarro on 07/01/16 07:30

The Home Quality Mark (HQM) is now open for registrations in England. It will be live for other home nations soon. So we wanted to get under the bonnet and have a think about what it is and how it works.

The construction and housing sector has had input through the consultation period and through over 50 events around the country.  It uses a 5-star rating to provide impartial information from experts on a new home's design, construction quality and running costs.

The hope is that the HQM will help house builders to demonstrate the high quality of their homes and differentiate them in the marketplace. At the same time, it will give homebuyers the confidence that the new homes they are choosing are well designed and built – and also happen to be cost effective to run.

HQM examines a range of issues:

Living cost
This takes into account:
·         Energy costs
·         Maintenance
·         Performance of the home in extreme weather
·         Access to transport and amenity
·         Durability of materials

Health and Wellbeing
How the home will impact the occupier’s health and wellbeing; including:
·         Quality of living space (air, temperature, light and noise)
·         Local amenity

Environmental footprint
How the home will impact the environment in its construction and use including:
·         Local and global emissions in use
·         Impact of the home construction

The Star Rating is calculated out of a maximum of 500 credits all of which are of equal value. The weighting criteria of different categories is specific to the needs of the new build housing sector but are similar to the BREEAM schemes, such as the BREEAM New Construction.

 John Stapleton, Head of External Affairs at Baker Homes, commented that there is a gap in the market:

"This is good news for people that are interested in high quality and lower bills. Much research shows there is a ‘performance gap’ between how homes are designed to perform and what happens in practice, and the monitoring element within the HQM is one of the significant aspects of the new framework. It could help drive change. Let’s hope it becomes the default before long"

The HQM is not mandatory for affordable housing as the Code for Baker Homes was.  It will be interesting to see the appetite for this new standard. There is growing consumer interest in homes that have lower running costs, less maintenance, and that are better at dealing with severe weather such as the flooding events we are increasingly seeing. Standards help to indicate which homes have these and which don’t and evidence performance. 

We are aware of a number of housing associations trialling this new standard. We will keep you updated on the roll-out of the HQM. If you would like to start a HQM assessment registration click here. Do you think it will be adopted widely? What are the challenges for developers and the HQM? Let us know your thoughts.

Topics: Energy Performance, Regulations & Standards, Housing Sector

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