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What is driving the requirements of new build housing?

From 2025, all new homes in England have to be greener, energy-efficient, and more affordable for people to heat and stay warm. The introduction of the Future Homes Standard will help to cut carbon emissions by 75% to 80% in all new homes built from 2025 and forms a vital step in the UK’s ambition of reaching its 2050 net-zero target.

Not only will new homes have to be built to higher environmental standards and fitted with low-carbon forms of heating, but architects, developers, and builders are also being tasked to ensure all new homes incorporate ‘work from home’ or ‘home office rooms’ as part of their masterplans.

The climate change agenda and pandemic effect has meant that a whole new raft of features will be added to the list of mandatory requirements for a new build home. Things like EV charge points will become the norm, as will alternatives to fossil fuel-based heating and ventilation sources. The pandemic forced millions of us to work from home, with many having to reassess the available space to them in their homes. Over a very short period of time, we have started to adapt to a completely new way of working, whether that’s full-time at home, or hybrid working; how we view our homes is changing at a rapid pace.

Take the housing market for example. Estate agents are all changing their narrative when it comes to marketing the property listings on their books. What once would have been a standard 3 or 4 bedroomed house, or a house with a separate ‘dining room’, are suddenly being offered with fewer bedrooms because the ‘box room’ is now a study or the dining room is now a ground floor home office.

For new build homes, the priority is now eco-flexible living that includes a home office area or room. This is for both private and social housing. A good example of this is at Kidbrooke Park Road, Royal Borough of Greenwich, which picked up the ‘Best affordable housing development (more than £20m)’ at November’s Inside Housing Awards.

Kidbrooke Park Road is a development of 117 council homes, all for social rent. It is one of the most ambitious social housing schemes to be built in Greenwich for decades. One-third of the units are family-sized, 51% are two-bedroom flats and one in 10 is wheelchair accessible. Every unit has either a garden or a generous balcony, and the design took into account families who may have to work from home. The development also provides a nursery, a communal garden and a public park.

Sustainability has been at the centre of this scheme. The properties use air source heat pumps, mechanical ventilation, solar panels, and green and blue roofs to achieve a high standard of net-zero carbon development. Facades, along with the orientation of rooms and windows, have been designed to avoid overheating while maximising the amount of sunlight in each property.

This particular scheme sets an exceptionally high standard. It competes with private developments in terms of energy performance, layout, space standards, cycle parking, amenity provision, play space and architectural quality. It has also regenerated a vacant piece of land.​

Inside Housing – 26th November 2021

Peter Richardson, Build-Zone said:

“Build-Zone recognises the emergence of new technologies, greener construction methods and materials which will help deliver against legislative requirements for sustainable and more functional new build houses in the UK.

“We arrange structural warranties for a number of major housing developers who recognise that in order to reduce their carbon footprint, they must adopt better insulation and heating and ventilation strategies that can be implemented across their entire portfolio of new build houses in a safe and efficient way.

“Homeworking requirements have changed so much that this is set to play a huge influential role on house layouts. And with so many now settled into hybrid working, the house itself has to deliver efficiencies from both a running cost point and reducing carbon emissions.”


About Build-Zone

Build-Zone offers A-rated Insurer-backed structural warranties for New Homes, Commercial, Mixed Use, Build to Rent, Social Housing, Self-Build, and Custom Build schemes together with their leading technical services company, Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd.

Site insurance and structural warranties are both forms of project insurance and can often be purchased from a single, specialist insurance provider. However, it should be noted that they are completely different products: site insurance will protect against issues arising on site before and during your build, whereas a structural warranty is there to cover you for any failure in the building structure after it has been completed.

You will need a structural warranty to gain protection against any fundamental structural problems with the building, typically for up to 10 years. Mortgage lenders will insist on a warranty, but even if you are funding your build with cash, it’s still a standard requirement to have one, so any future sales of the property aren’t jeopardised.

How much does a structural warranty cost?

As a rule of thumb, it’s usually a good idea to budget 1% of your indicative build costs. This will be payable ahead of any work whatsoever occurring on site. A retrospective structural warranty is much harder to get, so any decisions around insurance should be made right at the beginning of your project.

For more information on any of our structural warranty insurance policies, explore our products here:

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