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Sustainability and Building Regulations

Sustainability is an increasingly key issue for the construction industry. The Government wants new homes to be 'zero carbon' by 2016.

Building Regulations set standards for energy conservation, water efficiency, drainage, building emissions, treatment of contaminated land, and the storage of household and business rubbish.

Sustainability standards

There are a number of standards which developers can use to assess the sustainability of their buildings. These are the two most common ones:

Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code is the Government's preferred standard for those people that want to construct new homes in excess of minimum requirements and to a wider sustainable standard. The code is ranked from level 1 to 6 - with level 6 defined as 'zero carbon'.  

The energy efficiency requirements of the code are closely linked to Building Regulations - Part L of the regulations (energy efficiency) is used as the reference standard by which the code levels are set.

Find out more on the Government's website or download these:

Code for Sustainable Homes Technical Guide (PDF Document, 3.44 Mb)

Code for Sustainable Homes Faqs (Excel Spreadsheet, 0.4 Mb)

Code for Sustainable Homes Case Studies (PDF Document, 1.59 Mb)


The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM standard, is commonly used to assess commercial buildings - but it can be used to assess any type of building.

Like the Code for Sustainable homes, BREEAM looks to address a range of environmental and sustainability issues by setting standards in excess of Building Regulations. Visit to find out more.  

Save fuel, save money

Assessing a new property against any other standard than Building Regulations will cost money - either in increased levels of insulation, or simply just assessment fees. But this money could be recovered through lower fuel bills.

We recommend developers achieve at least a 25% improvement over 'Part L' standards. This can be demonstrated through the use of the DER/TER and BER/TER process, which is required for Building Regulation purposes anyway. 

Expert help

If you require expert help on sustainability or energy efficiency compliance issues, then we can find what you need. LABC Consult contains a list of people and organisations that offer energy assessment services.

We don't endorse any one provider - the list is merely a database of people and organisations that have made themselves known to the team.

If you take up the services of anyone on the list, please ensure that you carry out the necessary checks first since we cannot be held liable or responsible for any work they carry out for you.

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