BRE launches Home Quality Mark to benefit consumers and house-builders

breThe Building Research Establishment (BRE) has launched a national quality mark for new housing in an effort to allow house-builders to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

The Home Quality Mark will use a simple five-star rating system to give home-buyers and renters a clear indication of the quality and performance of a new home. It will illustrate the property’s overall running costs, as well as its impact on the occupant’s health and wellbeing. It will also demonstrate the home’s environmental footprint and its resilience to flooding and overheating in a changing climate.

BRE says the Home Quality Mark comes in the absence of any third party approval stamp covering these issues that consumers can use when investing in a new home.

For house-builders, the mark is intended to provide a valuable independent quality mark they can use to highlight the innovative features of their homes and differentiate themselves at a time when house-building remains in a period of growth.

Dr. Peter Bonfield, chief executive of BRE, 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.”

Homes built to the mark will be independently evaluated by licensed BRE Global assessors and developments built to standards like Passivhaus 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.

The scheme has already received widespread support from both house-builders and the manufacturers of the products they use. Alan Brown, chief executive of CALA Homes, 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.”

Marley Eternit has also welcomed the new mark, claiming that it will help to fill the materials standards gap that will be left by the Government scrapping of the Code for the Sustainable Homes (CfSH).

Gavin White, product manager at Marley Eternit, said:

“It is vital that with the removal of the CfSH, there continues to be some incentive for house-builders to use products that not only have the lowest environmental impact, but that are also responsibly sourced.  

“It is also positive to see that the new standard is focussing on the durability of materials used, as this is an important factor for the roofs of new build properties, where NHBC claims have historically been very high due to mortar failure.”

He added:

“The Home Quality Mark is a voluntary standard, so its success will entirely depend on its take up among house-builders and developers, as well as its perceived value with house-buyers. We hope that the new BRE standard is widely taken up by house-builders and that it eventually becomes viewed with as high a regard as BREEAM, which is an accolade that developers aspire to achieve. Despite its complicated nature, the CfSH did push both house-builders and manufacturers to do more to reduce environmental impact and in

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