Scenario 2

The influence of location using an example based on Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 3


A home’s location affects the experience of its occupants in many ways. HQM’s balanced approach means that it recognises the value different locations have, so while a dense-urban home may be more likely to score higher for local amenity access, a rural home may do better for outdoor space.

This scenario shows how the value of different locations can offer different credits. It uses a Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Level 3 compliant example to provide a comparative baseline and to show where CSH may align with HQM criteria. Although CSH has been withdrawn by Government, many house builders and social landlords are used to building to it, so a Code 3 example has been chosen to help put the standards in this scenario into a familiar context.

CSH compliance contributes to some of the outcomes met in HQM but the schemes do different things and HQM provides a much more holistic and relevant rating for consumers, communities and investors in housing appropriate for today’s housing market.

The scenario used here is a three-bedroom, semi-detached house that is part of a large new housing estate. It is built to typical CSH Level 3 sustainability standards and has also been developed using very good quality processes during design, construction and handover. Other assumptions have been made for each location scenario, to focus on the technical areas that may be most influenced.

In reality, there may be restraints over the exact nature of a house-type that can be used in different settings. For example, homes in dense-urban locations may be likely to have less internal space available than rural homes given the necessary higher development densities required to make developments viable. To allow for easier comparison, conservative assumptions have been made that are feasible in all locations.


The Features and Assumptions Used for this Scenario

Safety and resilience

  • Pre-development levels of rainwater runoff are retained


  • Good daylight levels are achieved in all living spaces (1.8%) and 85% working plane with view of sky
  • Good sound insulation is achieved between homes
  • Cooker hood is installed that exhausts air to outside

Energy and water

  • Energy efficiency – slight improvement over regulations including energy efficient tumble dryer (A+ EU energy label)
  • Low NOx emitting gas boiler installed
  • Good water efficiency; estimated 110 litres per person per day and efficient water fittings using optional fittings standard in Part G of building regulations


  • A good level of responsibly sourced materials (more than 20% points achieved) are used within key building elements.


  • 2 cycle storage spaces are provided
  • Back garden provided with outdoor drying space (Note: baseline garden size vary between rural, semi-urban and dense-urban locations)
  • Dedicated Internal recycling waste storage space is provided

Quality assurance

  • Airtightness testing is carried out at post construction stage
  • Early inspection visit will take place 4 to 6 weeks after occupants have moved in, to check the home’s systems are working well and any snags are resolved
  • Independent third-party checks of build quality are carried out (e.g. use of a clerk of works or similar)
  • Feedback and lessons learnt from construction processes are communicated to the project team, to improve quality for future projects

Construction impacts

  • Construction water and energy use is monitored and recorded
  • Good levels of onsite resource efficiency are achieved through the adoption of best practice management approaches.
  • Construction waste is sorted into key waste groups with at least 70% diverted from landfill

Customer support

  • 2 years on-call support is provided to occupants after they move in, free of charge

Each of the scenario’s location is described below for the purposes of this theoretical assessment:

  • Rural – village in the countryside
  • Semi-urban – suburban location outside the city centre
  • Dense-urban – large city centre


HQM credits have been awarded to show how these locations can influence HQM assessments. The differences are outlined in the table.
Click the table to enlarge the view (opens in a new tab).


Slight differences in overall credits and indicator points were achieved in this scenario but not enough to change the overall ratings. Where a home’s geographical location has meant that it didn’t do well in some issues, it benefited from it in others. This is how HQM has been designed, to draw out value from homes in different places.

The homes were in a good position to achieve HQM credits for sustainability features common in Code for sustainable homes such as recycling/composting access, cycle storage, water efficiency and improvements of energy efficiency better than regulatory standards.

Indicator scores of 3 for My Wellbeing and My Footprint were not met because these key backstops were not met:

  • My Wellbeing: well ventilated beyond regulations and nationally described space standards met.
  • My Footprint: good energy efficiency (at least Code level 4) and lower environmental impact of materials (product environmental information).