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    Code for Sustainable Homes and Home Quality Mark (HQM)

    What is the Code for Sustainable Homes?

    The Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) is a form of environmental assessment applicable to new build residential projects. It assesses the building on a number of environmental factors. The building is scored against each principle with an overall level between 1 and 6 given at the end of the assessment.

    12 Chandos Avenue

    This beautiful 4 bed house is situated in Barnet. EAL Consult were asked to carry out the required Code for Sustainable Homes assessment.

    We have assessed the house through the design stage for this nine point environmental assessment . We are pleased to say that it has achieved the level required by the council.

    We are now currently working on the post construction stage of this Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3.

    Who needs a Code for Sustainable Homes?

    Following the technical housing standards review, the government has issued a written ministerial statement withdrawing the code for sustainable homes, aside from the management of legacy cases. They are:

    • Cases where residential developments are legally contracted to apply a code policy (e.g. affordable housing funded through the National Affordable Housing Programme 2015 to 2018, or earlier programme)
    • Where planning permission has been granted subject to a condition stipulating discharge of a code level, and developers are not appealing the condition nor seeking to have it removed or varied.
    • Some London Boroughs are still asking for elements of the Code or the replacement Home Quality Mark.

    What is the Home Quality Mark?

    The Home Quality Mark (HQM) is the new national quality mark designed to give people the confidence that the new homes they are choosing to buy or rent are well designed, well built, and cost effective to run.

    • HQM help house builders demonstrate the high quality of their homes and to differentiate them in the marketplace.
    • It will give householders the confidence that the new homes they are choosing to buy or rent are well designed and built and cost effective to run.

    Using a simple 5-star rating, the Home Quality Mark will give home buyers and renters a clear indication of the quality and performance of a new home. It will illustrate the home’s overall running costs at a time when average energy bills top £1000. It will show the impact of the home on the occupant’s health and wellbeing as homes become more airtight, respiratory conditions rise and our population gets older. It will also demonstrate the home’s environmental footprint and its resilience to flooding and overheating in a changing climate. Additionally the mark evaluate the digital connectivity and performance of the home as our reliance on new technology becomes ever more critical.

    Why choose EAL Consult to help with the Code for Sustainable Homes and Home Quality Mark?

    EAL Consult have experience of producing assessments for a range of clients. We know that our clients want each site to be assessed on its own individual merits and with no generic advice given, so this is the service that we provide.

    A specific assessor is allocated to each case and will be your single point of contact for all technical matters throughout the construction process. This way the assessor gets to understand the case and your construction methods in great detail.

    The Code can be a complicated process, one which our experienced assessors and tested methodologies can help you to navigate with the minimum of fuss.

    The minimum energy efficiency requirements and how they can be achieved are found in  Part L of the Building Regulations  These latest revision of Part L came into effect in 2006 and subsequent revisions, the latest being in 2013.

    • Part L building Regulations

    Who requires a SAP or SBEM calculation?

    Anyone who is involved in a development that requires a change of use or an extension of more then 25% of the size of the building or with glazing of more than 25% will require SAP calculations to be carried out on the carbon footprint of the building. SBEM calculations are required for commercial buildings to find out whether the development meets the required target.

    How is a home assessed?

    Essentially, it is a two stage process at design and post construction stage to assess the homes on nine different categories of environmental issues. They are:

    1. Energy and CO­­₂ Emissions
    2. Pollution
    3. Water
    4. Health and Wellbeing
    5. Materials
    6. Management
    7. Surface Water Run-off
    8. Ecology
    9. Waste

    Each category includes a number of environmental issues and each is assessed for credits.

    The table 1: shows the credits available and weighting factors

    Categories of Environments Impact

    Total Credits in each category

    (% Point contribution)

    Category 1:  Energy and CO₂ Emissions



    Category 2:  Water



    Category 3:  Materials



    Category 4:  Surface Water Run off



    Category 5:  Waste



    Category 6:  Pollution



    Category 7:  Health and Well being



    Category 8:  Management



    Category 9:  Ecology



    There are three mandatory issues and the target performance in these issues have to be met before the Code level can be assessed.

    What are the mandatory issues needed to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes?

    The three mandatory issues are:

    • Environmental impact of materials.
    • Management of surface water runoff from developments.
    • Storage of non recyclable and recyclable household waste.

    Once the mandatory minimum performance standard is met for the three uncredited issues, four further mandatory issues need to be considered.

    The two issues with increasing mandatory minimum standards are:

    • Dwelling Emission rate
    • Indoor water use

    Table 2: Dwelling Emission Rate

    Code Levels for Mandatory minimum standards in CO₂ emission

    Code Level

    Minimum Percentage Improvement in Dwelling Emission Rate over Target Emission Rate

    Level 1 (*)

    0% ( Compliance with Part L 2010 is only required

    Level 2 (**)

    0% ( Compliance with Part L 2010 is only required

    Level 3 (***)

    0% ( Compliance with Part L 2010 is only required

    Level 4 (****)


    Level 5 (*****)


    Level 6 (******)

    Net Zero CO₂ Emissions

    Table 3: Indoor Water Consumption

    Code Levels for Mandatory Maximum Standards in Indoor Water Consumption

    Code Level

    Maximum Indoor Water Consumption in litres per person per Day

    Level 1 (*)


    Level 2 (**)


    Level 3 (***)


    Level 4 (****)


    Level 5 (*****)


    Level 6 (******)


    The final two issues with mandatory requirements are Fabric Energy Efficiency and Lifetime Homes.

    What is Fabric Energy Efficiency?

    Fabric Energy Efficiency is the energy demand for space heating and cooling expressed in KWh of energy demand per square metre per year.

    What is Lifetime Homes?

    Lifetime Homes is only for achieving Level 6 CSH and is basically to promote the construction of homes that are accessible and easily adaptable to meet the changing needs of current and future occupants.

    How is a Home rated in the Code for Sustainable Homes?

    The rating a home receives depends on how it measures up in the nine categories:

    The Code uses a 1 to 6 star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home. A home assessed as 6 stars will have achieved the highest sustainability rating.

    The table 4: Relationship between total percentage points score and code level.

    Total percentage Points Score (equal to or greater than)

    Code Levels

    36 Points

    Level 1 (*)

    48 Points

    Level 2 (**)


    Level 3 (***)


    Level 4 (****)

    84 Points

    Level 5 (*****)

    90 Points

    Level 6 (******)

    The results of the Code assessment are then recorded on a certificate assigned to the dwelling.

    Who can carry out an assessment for a Code for Sustainable Homes?

    A Code assessment can only be carried out by a licensed and accredited Code assessor. This ensures the rating is independent and trustworthy.