With the demise of the code for sustainable homes there was a gap in the market for a domestic certification scheme. With a proven track record of creating and delivering certification schemes for non-domestic buildings through BREEAM, the BRE developed the Home Quality Mark (HQM).
BRE research on consumer drivers showed that 90% of people would prefer a home with an independent mark and 1 in 5 would pay more for it. More than a quarter would pay at least a 6% premium for a home with sustainable features with energy efficiency features being the most important.
HQM is a consumer focussed standard because primarily the house is for the consumer. The name ‘Home Quality Mark’ was chosen to be as meaningful to as many people as possible.
The HQM applies to new build self contained units only. The scheme comprises of three sections covering 35 issues with a 1-5 star rating determined by the total number of credits achieved across all sections. The assessment categories are as follows:
Our surroundings – covers site wide issues such as ecology, flood risk and transport.
My Home – contains the technical issues that consider the design and performance of the specific home being built.
Knowledge sharing – this section focusses on encouraging and maintaining quality through all stages of the development. It encourages communication, quality assurance, effective handover and aftercare support.
The scheme also develops a set of 3 occupant focussed indicators; ‘My cost’, ‘my wellbeing’ and ‘my footprint’. Each assessment issue has a relative contribution to the indicator scores with each one having a final score out of five.
The HQM differs from other BREEAM Schemes in that each of the 500 credits are weighted equally across all issues. It is easy to see what each issue is worth as the more important issues are assigned more credits. There is only 1 mandatory criteria and that is for having a building warranty in place.
One advantage of the scheme for large developments and developers is the pre-approval of a house type. Once a house type has achieved a HQM rating, the house type can be pre-approved at the ‘My Home’ level. Therefore this score can be reused on other sites for he same house type. This makes the assessment process quicker and provides more clarity on the likely HQM score.
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