Housebuilders recognise the importance of quality

A record 55 new housing schemes have qualified for a ‘Building for Life’ standard this year, 50 per cent more than last year and the largest number in the eight years of the award.

The schemes scored more than 14 out or 20 against the ‘Building for Life’ criteria, the national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods. It is the first-time more than half of all entries achieved a standard, suggesting an overall rise in housing quality.

A total of 20 schemes qualified for a gold standard and 35 for a silver standard this year, compared to 12 gold standards and 24 silver standards last year.

The schemes suggest that housebuilders are increasingly seizing the opportunity to play a leading role in creating successful places, as well as the construction of individual homes. The concept of placemaking can be seen across all 55 schemes, regardless of their size or location.

They range from a distinctive scheme in South London with coherent private and public space to family housing at Hulton Square in Salford which provides good access to public transport and makes best use of its location near a park, primary schools and a healthcare centre.

Over half of all the schemes that achieved a ‘Building for Life’ are in the South West or in London. A self build development in Bristol, Ashley Vale, is the first scheme of its kind to achieve a ‘Building for Life’ standard.

Wayne Hemingway, chair of ‘Building for Life’, said: ‘Building for Life has helped developers and planners talk the same language and by working together they’re creating far better places to live’.

Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, said: ‘This suggests to me we might finally be starting to deliver good quality housing on a regular basis’.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at HBF, said: ‘A record number of standards reflect the industry’s commitment and shows recognition that quality is a driver of business’.