Residential Environmental Assessments

The National Certification Scheme For New Dwellings

It is a voluntary scheme and a more end-user friendly certification process than the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and will greatly enhance the chance of successful planning submissions.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states “Development which is sustainable can be approved without delay”. An HQM pre-assessment enhances and supports planning application submissions by demonstrating the sustainable credentials of proposed schemes.

HQM does recognise and encourage the adoption of the proposed “Housing Standards Review” that is being undertaken by Government and is expected to be incorporated into the Building Regulations.

Building to the HQM, rather than building homes only within the minimum standards required by Building Regulations, provides developers with a clear market differentiation for their products.

HQM is a performance focus design and construction assessment. It measures the environmental impact of new developments taking into account issues such as: Embodied energy; Direct and indirect operational CO2 emissions; Resource efficiency and occupiers Health & Wellbeing.

The HQM Standard

HQM provides a 1 to 5 star rating, evaluating:

  • Accessible to public transport
  • Alternative sustainable transport
  • Local amenities
  • Ecology review
  • Maintaining & enhancing ecological value
  • Ecological management
  • Recreational space
  • Security
  • Flood risk
  • Managing the impact of rainfall
  • Land use and visual impact
  • External spatial design
  • Growing space

By undertaking HQM assessments, we exceed the planning requirements for sustainable development. This paves the way to develop a coherent building design, providing developers with the opportunity to:

  • Differentiate your projects
  • Address buyers concerns on sustainability
  • Increase your market share

Our Sustainability Consultants, BREEAM and HQM Assessors have a proud record of providing cost-effective sustainable design solutions, leading to planning approvals and successful building certification with BRE.

The scheme has a total of 500 credits organised under the three key sections. Click on each section for more details:

This section will award credits for recognising opportunities and mitigating constraints for best integration of homes into the surrounding area.

This section is divided into four categories: Site context; Movement & connectivity; Outdoors and Safety & Resilience. Some of the familiar issues are:

  • Accessible public transport
  • Alternative sustainable transport
  • Local amenities
  • Ecology review
  • Maintaining & enhancing ecological value
  • Ecological management
  • Recreational space
  • Security
  • Flood risk
  • Managing the impact of rainfall
  • Land use and visual impact
  • External spatial design
  • Growing space
HQM Topics Topics Previously covered by CSH
Alternative Public Transport Ene 8 Cycle Storage
Ecology Was 3 Composting
Ecology Eco 1 Ecological Value of Site
Ecology Eco 2 Ecological Enhancement
Ecology Eco 3 Protection of Ecological Features
Ecology Eco 4 Change in Ecological Value of Site
Recreational Space Hea 3 Private Space
Flood Risk Sur 2 Flood Risk
Managing the Impact of Rainfall Sur 1 Management of Surface Water Run-Off
Security Man 4 Security

The environmental issues within the “Our Surroundings” section that are covered by the BREEAM are:

HQM Topics Topics currently covered in BREEAM
Accessible Public Transport Tra 01 Public Transport Accessibility
Local Amenities Tra 02 Proximity to Amenities

This section will recognise and award credits for measures that are incorporated into the design of the home that contributes to its performance and improves the wellbeing of its occupants.

This section is divided into five categories, Energy; Comfort & Health; Materials; Space and Water. Some of the familiar issues are:

  • Energy performance & cost
  • Decentralised energy & storage
  • External lighting
  • Indoor pollutants
  • Daylight
  • Internal & external noise
  • Sound insulation
  • Temperature
  • Ventilation
  • Environmental impact
  • Life cycle costing
  • Durability & resilience
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Drying space
  • Recyclable waste storage
  • Water efficiency
  • Leak detection
  • Sunlight
  • Dwelling space
  • Loss of daylight to neighbours

HQM methodology assesses and reports environmental performance differently from the CSH. However, some topics within the HQM “My Home” section, which were previously covered by the CSH are listed below:

HQM Topics Topics Previously covered by CSH
Daylight Hea 1 Daylighting
Sound Insulation Hea 2 Sound Insulation
Energy Performance and Cost Ene 1 Dwelling Emission Rate
Energy Performance and Cost Ene 2 Fabric Energy Efficiency
Decentralised Energy Ene 7 Low and Zero Carbon Technology
Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products Mat 1 Environmental Impact of Materials
Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products Mat 2 Responsible Sourcing of Materials
Impact from Construction Products Pol 1 GWP of Insulants
Impact from Construction Products Pol 2 Nox Emissions

The environmental issues within “My Home” section which were covered by the BREEAM are:

HQM Topics Topics currently covered in BREEAM
Indoor Pollutants Hea 02 Indoor Air Quality
Internal and External Noise Hea 05 Acoustic Performance
Life Cycle Costing of Construction Products Man 02 Cycle Cost and Service Planning
Durability of Construction Products Mat 05 Design for Durability

This section will award credits for good practice throughout the design and construction to reduce the “Performance Gap” by:

  • Effective, holistic project management
  • Meaningful communication and support from and through occupation
  • Verification of performance

This section is divided into two categories, Home delivery and User experience, which will award credits for some familiar issues such as:

  • Commissioning and Performance
  • Awareness and training
  • Communication
  • Construction energy
  • Construction water
  • Considerate construction
  • Waste arising
  • Diversion from landfill
  • Aftercare
  • Home information
  • Monitoring & controls
  • Post occupancy evaluation

HQM methodology assesses and reports environmental performance differently from the CSH. However, some topics within the HQM “Knowledge Sharing” section, which were previously covered by the CSH are listed below:

HQM Topics Topics Previously covered by CSH
Home Information Man 1 Home User Guide
Considerate Construction Man 2 Considerate Contractor Scheme
Construction Energy Man 3 Construction Site Impact
Construction Water Man 3 Construction Site Impact
Site Waste Wst 1 Storage of Recyclable Waste
Site Waste Wst 2 Construction Site Waste Management

The environmental issues within the “Knowledge Sharing” section that are covered by BREEAM are:

HQM Topics Topics currently covered in BREEAM
Commissioning and Performance Man 04 Commissioning and Handover
Aftercare Man 05 Aftercare
Post Occupancy Evaluation Man 05 Aftercare

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