BRE’s 100 day roadmap for the incoming UK Government

BRE’s 100 day roadmap for the incoming UK Government

The Labour Party’s manifesto set out an ambitious, multi-faceted plan to grow and decarbonise the UK economy.

Now elected as the new government, Labour’s delivery on the manifesto pledges and their missions will require a laser focus on the built environment: building millions of new homes that must be healthy and sustainable, alongside the development of low carbon buildings and enhanced infrastructure for a high-productivity, modern economy.

In the next 100 days, BRE would like to see the new Labour administration take the steps detailed below, in order to begin delivering the change that we need to see in Britain’s buildings. Our asks support Labour’s five missions to rebuild Britain, in particular kickstarting economic growth and making Britain a clean energy superpower.

BRE Asks:

  • A call for evidence on regulation and low carbon innovation in the construction and retrofit sector.  Unlocking innovation is key to delivering economic growth. Britain has a growing army of SME net zero innovators but, too often, they find regulatory pathways costly and challenging to negotiate. With the government planning a new Regulatory Innovation Office, BRE would like to see a review of the processes required to bring new construction and retrofit products to market at the top of the new office’s agenda.
  • An announcement in the King’s Speech on the trajectory for building regulations. Robust plans for changes to Part L, energy and carbon standards, need to take effect from next year, working from the previous government’s consultation on the Future Homes Standard.  A new Building Act should extend the scope of building regulations to cover embodied carbon; and a timeline should also be set for higher standards for new and existing buildings through the next Parliament.
  • A robust and enforced Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector. Poor housing costs the UK billions of pounds a year – with ill-health from cold, damp or unsafe homes adding to the burden placed on the NHS. Labour's manifesto committed to extending Awaab's Law to the Private Rented Sector: this should go alongside a Decent Homes Standard for the sector. The evidence base for health and safety in homes should be up to date: a full update to the scientific basis of the official Housing Health and Safety Rating system is needed.
  • The revoking of the previous administration’s Written Ministerial Statement limiting local energy efficiency standards. With its commitment to devolution and working with the Mayoral combined authorities, the Labour government should support councils and regions who want to go further and faster in sustainability standards for homes, while meeting local housing need and re-announced housing targets.
  • Setting early, clear targets for the Warm Homes retrofit programme to provide supply chain and investor certainty. The government is keen for private investment to work alongside public spending on retrofit so that the entire country can benefit. Ensuring progress is monitored is also key - a focus is needed on data collection and monitoring arrangements across government-funded retrofit programmes.
  • Confirming the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) “B” minimum standard for rented business premises, to take effect from the late 2020s. Non-domestic premises account for 25% of building sector emissions. In the longer term, BRE would like to see a national Transition Plan for all buildings, identifying the targets and steps to bring the whole existing building stock to net-zero by 2050.
  • Commit to the use of the “Constructing the Gold Standard” Verification scheme in procurement across government departments, public sector agencies and operations. The government is a major customer of construction and retrofit services.  By committing to the Gold Standard, the government can achieve improved value, reduced risks, and progress to net zero on public construction projects.  This will help drive higher standards across the UK property sector.
  • A consultation on changes to the home EPC system. EPCs can be powerful tools to help us all decide on the steps to make our homes warmer and low carbon. But the systems to produce the certificate need updating as we move towards net zero. A consultation on changes to the home EPC system should include proposals to update the headline measures on the certificate, using the powerful new Home Energy Model methodology to its full potential, and improving the assessment process.
  • An announcement of plans for the National Data Library. Data-driven insights will be crucial for government, working in conjunction with industry, to hit our net zero commitments in the years to come. The new National Data Library described in Labour’s manifesto is a welcome plan to ensure government funded research translates rapidly into delivery and will be an essential for a mission-focused government.
  • A Department for Business and Trade roundtable on building standards and certification services to inform the new government’s trade strategy. Labour’s first mission is to kick start economic growth: it is committed to expanding markets for British exporters. British standards and certification services for building are recognised globally for their quality and rigour. For example, BREEAM is the UK’s sustainable scheme for the built environment, exported to nearly 90 countries around the world and the LPCB is a globally recognised third-party certification body delivering certainty in the field of fire safety products for over 150 years. Strengthening its role as a global net zero leader, the UK has an opportunity to place these tools at the forefront of trade negotiations. Getting key players within the sector together will harness the opportunity to both uplift international progress towards net zero and bolster a growing export market and source of soft power.

A fundamental commitment to developing and delivering improved building standards is required to place the UK government on a trajectory to kickstart economic growth and deliver Labour’s missions to rebuild Britain.

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