Health impact assessments

Quantifying the health-cost benefits of housing improvements

We provide local authorities with the information they need to drive up public health standards and reduce health costs. This is achieved by carrying out Health Impact Assessments to identify the most beneficial and cost effective improvements to housing in their areas.

Research on quantifying the health-cost benefits of improving homes has provided a very strong case for this approach.  For example, a BRE Trust report on the cost of poor housing highlights potential savings to the NHS in England of more than £1.4 billion a year from dealing with the most pressing housing problems. Meanwhile the cost of poor housing to the wider society has been estimated at £18.6 billion a year [from this BRE report].

Identifying and prioritising hazards

At BRE we combine expertise in housing quality with data on health service costs arising from poor housing. We identify housing hazards in a local authority area – such as slips, trips and falls, mould and other treatable aspects of unhealthy housing – and assess their costs to the NHS. Further calculations give cost benefits from mitigating hazards over a number of years. This helps to calculate which hazards should be focused on – would it be better, for example, to spend tight resources on putting up stair rails, window restraints or fire doors?

We have reported the health cost benefit of prospective improvements for a number of local authorities of which some have been published online, including:

East Cambridgeshire District Council

City of Bradford MDC

West Oxfordshire District Council.

For more information about health impact assessment

Call us on 0333 321 88 11 if you would like to know more about health impact assessment or need help with a specific issue – or email enquiries@bre.co.uk

In the BRE Bookshop