Model Employer’s Requirements and Design Brief Clauses

The clauses are free-to-download and set minimum requirements for performance standards for energy (net zero), emissions, health, comfort and building performance evaluation.

Developed in collaboration with:

With input from our local authority (Vanguard) and housing association (Pathfinder) network members via a workshop.

The work has been kindly funded by the MCS Charitable Foundation.

About the clauses

The new clauses can be adopted by clients (i.e. local authorities, RSLs) and included in Employer’s Requirements and Design Guides. The clauses principally intend to:

  • Drive up standards by placing new build housing developments on a trajectory to net zero carbon and avoiding the need for retrofit work to be undertaken in future;
  • Improve and enhance the comfort, health, well-being and satisfaction of occupants while additionally maintaining provision of affordable warmth; and
  • Ensure that homes are built to perform in accordance with the design stage intentions (or better) by closing the ‘performance gap’.

The clauses provide minimum requirements set out as a performance specification which can be used in connection with both self-promoted and Section.106 developments, they should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Additionally, the clauses seek to clarify the responsibilities of designers and developers in satisfying the requirements.

The ERs are built around standards set by LETI in their Climate Emergency Design Guide, the Future Homes Standard and Woodknowledge Wales BPE Guidance.

Authors: For the Good Homes Alliance, authored by Paul Ciniglio, BM3e Principal, Boulter Mossman with input from Jim Allman, Director, Boulter Mossman and Prof. Tim Sharpe, independent consultant.

Publication date: June 2021, v3


Main document:





Launch event video

On June 1st 2021 we hosted the Model Employer’s Requirements and Design Brief Clauses launch event. You can watch the video of the event below. 

Speakers included:

  • Julian Brooks, Programmes Director, Good Homes Alliance
  • Adrian Ramsey, CEO, MCS Charitable Foundation
  • Paul Ciniglio, BM3e Principal, Boulter Mossman
  • Prof. Tim Sharpe, independent consultant

BPE Tutorial: Fionn Stevenson

A tutorial with BPE expert Fionn Stevenson.


Building Performance Evaluation Guide

This guidance is aimed at housing clients, and anyone interested in Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) who wants to evaluate and improve the performance of homes.

Its purpose is to provide an introduction to applying BPE in practice on projects, with:

  • Information for clients and project managers to gain an overview of the benefits of BPE, what the main BPE techniques can do, how to procure it, and the main activities to plan throughout a project from design to occupancy
  • Guidance on the main BPE techniques available
  • Tools for day-to-day use on projects, complemented by more detailed guidance, examples and references.

This guidance recommends a “core” BPE scope for clients and project teams wanting to understand and improve the performance of their homes. This provides a holistic look at performance, including people, the indoor environment, fabric performance, energy use and water use. It highlights how BPE techniques can work together, and the interactions between energy performance, people, and the indoor environment. It limits the involvement of experts and expensive equipment. Instead, the aim is to embed building performance throughout the project stages and empower project teams to deliver high performance.

Authors: This guidance has been produced for Woodknowledge Wales on behalf of the Home-Grown Homes project. The document was authored by Susie Diamond, Inkling & Julie Godefroy Sustainability, for the Good Homes Alliance.

Publication date: January 2021



Embodied Carbon Guidance for social housing developers, their design teams, contractors and suppliers

The target audience encompasses key stakeholders within Welsh social housing organisations including development and asset managers, their design teams, contractors and suppliers, but it also relevant to stakeholders throughout the UK.

Clear and authoritative guidance is provided on how to procure and undertake an Embodied Carbon assessment, what benchmarks can be set, tools that can be used and how Embodied Carbon can be reduced. Examples are provided to show how others have tackled Embodied Carbon within their organisations and projects, with a focus on housing. Where relevant, other guidance and useful information is signposted.

Authors: This guidance has been produced for Woodknowledge Wales on behalf of the Home-Grown Homes project. The document was authored by Jane Anderson of ConstructionLCA Ltd together with Katherine Adams, The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products.

Publication date: December 2020




Good Homes 2020: Covid-19, Health & Well-being and the Green Recovery

The fourth and final event in the Good Homes 2020 Conference Series.


  • Welcome from the chair and scene setting – Lynne Sullivan OBE, Chair, Good Homes Alliance
  • The Healthy Homes Act – Dr Daniel Slade, Policy & Project Manager, Town and Country Planning Association
  • Accelerating the transition to a green economy – Emma Harvey, Programme Director, Green Finance Institute
  • Home Comforts during the Covid-19 Lockdown – Prof. Matthew Carmona, Planning and Urban Design, University College London
  • The Building for Life principles – David Birkbeck, Chief Executive, Design for Homes
  • Active House principles and findings of the ‘Model Home 2020’ CarbonLight Home project – Paul Hicks, Director, Studio 62 Design Ltd

Event date: Tuesday 17th November 2020


Good Homes 2020: Climate Emergency and Local Authority Action

The third event in the Good Homes 2020 Conference Series.


  • Welcome from the chair and update on the Vanguard Network – Julian Brooks, Programmes Director, Good Homes Alliance
  • ‘One million SuperHomes by 2030’ – An update from our Vanguard Network partner – Sandra Hayes, Head of Households and Communities, National Energy Foundation
  • Vanguard Network case studies
    • Reflecting on 10+ years of Passivhaus in Exeter – Emma Osmundsen, Managing Director, Exeter City Living
    • Planning for net zero in Cambridgeshire – Emma Davies, Principal Sustainability Consultant, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service
    • One of the UK’s largest regeneration projects: Meridian Water, Enfield – Rafe Bertram, Sustainability Lead (Meridian Water), Enfield Council
    • Sustainable housing at Harlow and Gilston Garden Town – Tara Gbolade, Sustainability Lead, Harlow & Gilston Garden Town

Event date: Tuesday 3rd November 2020


Home Comforts during the Covid-19 Lockdown

The report summarises findings of a national survey of 2,500 households (representing 7,200 people) aimed at understanding how well or how poorly the design of our homes and their immediate neighbourhoods supported us during the period of coronavirus lockdown.

The intention was to understand what can be learned from this period of unprecedented stress on our home environments. The findings offer insights into how we should be designing or adapting them in the future in order that they are more resilient and better able to support happy and healthy lifestyles.

Findings are grouped according to the following themes:

1. About you during lockdown

2. Your home during lockdown

3. Your neighbourhood during lockdown

4. Your community during lockdown

Author: Place Alliance (Matthew Carmona, Valentina Giordano, Garima Nayyar, Jessica Kurland, Clare Buddle)

Publication date: October 2020

Further information:



Good Homes 2020: Technologies and Solutions for Net Zero Homes

The second event in the Good Homes 2020 Conference Series.


  • Welcome from the chair – Mike Roberts, Vice-Chair, Good Homes Alliance
  • An update on the Active Building Centre – Simon McWhirter, Head of Engagement, Active Building Centre
  • Innovative net zero technologies: Product showcase
    • Sonnen – Gary Watson, Sales Manager (UK & Ireland), Sonnen
    • Kensa Contracting – Ieman Barmaki, Director of Low Carbon Partnerships, Kensa Contracting
    • Wondrwall – Daniel Burton, CEO, Wondrwall
    • Heritage Wind – Steve Charter, Director, Heritage Wind
    • Build Test Solutions – Dr Richard Jack, Product Manager, Build Test Solutions
  • Net zero housing case study: Parc Hadau development – James Williams, Managing Director, Sero Homes

Event date: Tuesday 20th October 2020


Good Homes 2020: Net Zero Housing Policy and Projects

The first event in the Good Homes 2020 Conference Series.


  • Launch of the conference series and net zero policy update – Lynne Sullivan OBE, Chair, Good Homes Alliance
  • Keynote address – Professor Dame Julia King, Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change Adaptation Committee
  • Welcome from our sponsor and update on the ‘Healthy Homes Barometer’ – Neil Freshwater, Public Affairs Manager GB & Ireland, VELUX
  • ‘Affordable, efficient and healthy homes for all’ – The ‘Home of 2030’ competition – Andy von Bradsky, Head of Architecture, MHCLG
  • Accelerating net zero: Pilots, client guides and more – Clare Murray, Head of Sustainability, Levitt Bernstein and LETI
  • ‘Homes of the future, now – Comfortable and affordable to heat’: An update on the ‘Building for 2050’ project – Alison Crompton, Regional Director, AECOM

Event date: Tuesday 6th October 2020


Building Standards Compared

The paper seeks to illustrate clearly how the choice of selecting a building standard affects the amount of renewable energy generation that is required to comply with a net zero operational outcome. The report does not take into account embodied energy/carbon. All energy and carbon modelling is illustrative but based upon real archetypes.

Author: Commissioned by the Good Homes Alliance and Woodknowledge Wales. Authored by John Palmer, Passivhaus Trust

Publication date: V1.2, October 2020 (V1 originally published in September 2020)