With many of us spending nearly all our time at home at the moment, one thing Covid-19 has highlighted is the problems and shortcomings within our homes. Disappointingly many of these problems are found in modern homes, showing that Building Regulations alone just isn’t enough to ensure our homes are fit for purpose. BRE’s Home Quality Mark addresses many of these problem areas including:
- Public Transport Availability – awarding credits for homes with access to a wide range of frequent public transport services – although there are concerns about the use of public transport at the moment some people don’t have any other option, frequent services will help to reduce crowding.
- Sustainable Transport Options – awarding credits for the provisions of cycle storage and cycling networks – making it easier for people to choose cycling over public transport when they can.
- Local Amenities – awarding credits for the presence of key amenities within walking distance of the home – reducing the need to use public transport for essential trips.
- Recreational Space – awarding credits for recreational space within walking distance, private or communal external space and even growing space – ensuring residents are able to enjoy outdoor space and nature close to home.
- Indoor Pollutants & Ventilation – awarding credits for using products and building materials that will not release air pollutants into the home and for adequate ventilation – increasing comfort and minimising negative health impacts for residents when in the home.
- Daylight – awarding credits for the average levels of daylight in certain rooms – improving residents’ quality of life and reducing the need for artificial lighting.
- Noise Sources & Sound Insulation – awarding credits for internal and external noise levels and between homes and rooms – improving residents’ quality of life and increasing suitability for working from home.
- Temperature – awarding credits for homes that manage the risk of overheating – improved comfort, health and wellbeing for residents.
- Energy and Cost – awarding credits for energy efficient homes – reducing running costs which may otherwise rocket with increased time at home.
- Durability – awarding credits for materials that will limit degradation – reducing the need for maintenance call outs and people entering the home.
- Access and Space – awarding credits for nationally described space standards – increasing space in the home to accommodate additional functions such as working from home more easily.
- Smart Homes – awarding credits for homes able to adapt to developing technologies via connectivity to the home and within the home – enabling working from home.
If or when working goes back to the office, and we can visit restaurants, cinemas and pubs again, that doesn’t mean we should go back to settling for sub-standard new build homes. Our homes should be built to meet our needs for however many hours we spend in them and the Home Quality Mark is a big step towards demonstrating how this can be done.