Future Homes – Avoiding unintended consequences (NF91)

The technology largely exists to enable this extraordinary transformation, but the knowledge, skills and practices required to deliver homes reliably and at volume, may not. With this in mind, this web-based toolkit, commissioned from Studio Partington, looks at key issues such as householder comfort, usability and resilience to climate change. 

It sets out in three clear sections – heating, ventilation and design considerations – the different unintended consequences that might arise from energy saving measures in new homes and suggests how these might be overcome.  

This resource will continue to evolve and become a forum for knowledge and a stimulus for thinking about the home in use and about design for future occupiers. It will be a resource for designers, builders, suppliers and home managers, sign-posting other guides and learning. We would like it to prompt discussion, identify the scale of the challenge and, hopefully, be a reminder of lessons from the recent past.

Author: Studio Partington for NHBC Foundation

Publication date:



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)


Guidance Standard

Active House Specifications 3.0

Active House Specifications 3.0 outlines the specifications for designing an Active House, a building that integrates health and comfort with energy efficiency and environmental performance. The Specifications outline the technical specifications that determine the quality and performance of an Active House.

Author: Active House Alliance

Publication date: 2020



GHA 2019 Policy Workshop

GHA held a policy workshop entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Housing: Are Current Regulations Fit for Purpose?’ on Thursday 24th January 2019 at Winckworth Sherwood, London. The event included three roundtable workshop discussions facilitated by the GHA and a number of expert speakers.

The purpose of the discussions was to:

  • Highlight the shortcomings of the current Building Regulations on; energy, ventilation, overheating, indoor air quality, comfort, and in-use performance.
  • Suggest improvements and changes to regulations/policies in anticipation of forthcoming Government reviews in 2019.
  • Produce a concise set of notes on the three themes that will inform an industry wide position paper that can be adopted by the GHA membership and presented to industry and Government

Author: Good Homes Alliance

Publication date: January 2019



Building for Life 12

The Building for Life 12 (BfL12) guidelines were published in a booklet in September 2012. BfL12 is the third version of the guide for developers and local authorities and responds to and ensures it is best suited to the needs of the reformed planning system under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Localism Act.

BfL12 is designed to help local communities become more involved in design conversations and in shaping development proposals. Its 12 questions provide a structure for discussions between local communities, the local planning authority, the developer and other stakeholders, to ensure that the design of new homes and their neighbourhood are as attractive, functional and sustainable as possible.

Its development is the result of a unique collaboration between house builders, local authorities, planners, architects and academics. It enables stakeholders involved in housing to consider all the elements of what makes “a good place to live” at the design stage.

Author: Design Council, CABE, Home Builders Federation, Design for Homes

Publication date: 2018

Further information:



Housing Standards Handbook

The last five years has brought unprecedented change to housing standards, the regimes that own, manage and assess them, and the tenures to which they apply.

Following the Housing Standards Review, this new handbook reflects the latest standards and best practice.

This publication:

  • considers the role that standards play in securing the quality of new build housing
  • breaks down the standards to show whether they are applied nationally or locally
  • features a checklist in the appendices containing all the standards listed in the book
  • is easy to navigate with best practice guidance and illustrations.

Author: National Housing Federation

Publication date: January 2016



The Case for Home Performance Labelling

The question is how best to introduce information to the marketplace, what information would be best made available, and how to overcome the various obstacles involved?

The Housing Forum has brought together a wide range of contributions from across the industry seeking answers to these questions over recent years. This work has culminated in the Home Performance Labelling Pilot which has engaged designers, homebuilders and suppliers in a forward looking exercise.

By creating a comparison website ( they have anticipated a time when customers might make choices about their next home, fully informed about standards and running costs, as well as price and location.

This exercise has provided invaluable experience of the processes and techniques that might be involved, as well as providing a signpost to the first step towards the introduction of a system that could ultimately offer consumers all the information to which they are properly entitled, when making choices about the most expensive purchase they will ever make.

They consider the range of parameters for assessment, the reasons behind the choice for our pilot and possible other measures. They assess the obstacles to implementation and consider the wide range of applications for the information in the future.

The outcome of the pilot exercise amply justifies the premise that more information should be conveyed to home seekers than is currently the case. The range of running costs even amongst new homes built to contemporary standards is almost £3,000 per annum.

In this report, the immediate history leading up to the study is summarised, acknowledging diverse contributions to the development of thinking and techniques. They note the emerging context of housing standards and the quality agenda established by recent reviews of planning, housing standards and regulations.

Author: The Housing Forum

Publication date: January 2015