The Government’s decision to exempt small sites from off-site carbon mitigation requirements will help small scale house builders build more homes, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, said: “There can be little doubt that if we are to begin to build the number of new homes we need, then we desperately need to see a reinvigorated SME house building sector and the use of more small sites for the delivery of new housing. If we are to achieve this, it is vital that new regulations and standards are sensitive to the impact which they can have on small development projects.”
Berry continued: “SME house builders are committed to building to the highest standards, not least because they typically compete based on the quality of the homes they build. Yet, for smaller builders building out small scale sites, the move to the zero carbon standard presents particular challenges. The limitations of small sites tend to reduce options for on-site low carbon technologies, and the more complex, bespoke designs typical of smaller developments make hitting building fabric efficiency targets much harder.”
Berry concluded: “As ever, the SME sector will rise to this challenge, but to also add a requirement for payments or actions to mitigate carbon off-site, which under necessary transitional arrangements small firms will be discharging years before volume builders are, is neither fair nor proportionate. Contrary to the popular misconception, an exemption from the off-site, or ‘Allowable Solutions’, element of the zero carbon standard will have no impact on the energy performance of new homes – what it will do is ease the impact of the policy on the deliverability of small sites. As such, this is a fair and proportionate measure and we very much hope it will be supported and implemented by the next Government, regardless of which party or parties take power.”