Technical Consultation 2015

Thank you to all those who took time to respond

Following an in-depth review of the feedback received, we have taken on board the wide ranging constructive responses, which have contributed to the development of the beta version of HQM and its on-going development. Click below to access the full consultation response.

Download consultation feedback response

We always welcome thoughts, ideas and suggestions, so if you were not able to respond you can contact us.

The information below provides an overview of the Home Quality Mark at the time of consultation in July 2015.

Introduction to HQM consultation

The Home Quality Mark is a rigorous and relevant standard to give householders the tools and reassurance to make the smart choice when buying or renting a home.  At the same time it provides home builders with the tools to aim high and differentiate their product.  The mark provides a common language, framework and trust to ensure that we are building the right homes for people. This consultation provides an opportunity for you to engage with the technical development of HQM, to ensure that it is relevant for today’s and tomorrow’s homes. There are three key documents that go with the consultation

  1. Consultation technical guide (PDF)
  2. Scoring (PDF)
  3. Response Questionnaire (now closed)

How to Respond

We welcome comments from industry professionals, representative organisations, those outside the sector and of course members of the public.

Firstly, please ensure you have read the Consultation Technical Guide (PDF).

The best way to respond is via the questionnaire below.  If you have any further comments or questions please respond to [email protected]

The closing deadline for responses is Friday 4th of September. The research that underpins the development of HQM is outlined here.

Technical Consultation July 2015

The questionnaire is now closed and we are reviewing and taking on board the numerous responses.

Structure and Context of HQM

The Home Quality Mark is a national mark that will give those buying or renting new homes the confidence that they are choosing a well built, cost-effective home that is designed and built to exceed expectations. It will give homes an overall star rating, as well as further indicators focusing on “My Cost, My Wellbeing and My Footprint”.  The example scorecard below gives an indication of how this may look. The issues that the scorecard brings up are customisable, depending on which particular areas the home scores well in.  Over time the information (not scoring) can be personalised, giving people information relevant to them.  For example providing energy cost for their occupation levels, in a similar way that car manufactures provide MPG figures for Urban, Extra Urban and Combined.

During the development of HQM it quickly became apparent that the way that the general public understand and relate to issues concerning their home and community is different to the way that industry understands them. Potential occupiers do not think about sustainability and quality issues in the same way as regulations and planning systems, which are based on outcomes when they are looking to purchase or rent a home. HQM ties these two sets of priorities by presenting results in a consumer facing score card ‘output’ which is different to the “inputs” (structured around industry facing sections and issues), as highlighted in the diagram below.

For industry, Home Quality Mark is structured into 3 sections:

  • Our Surroundings
  • My Home
  • Knowledge Sharing

This structure is beneficial for a number of reasons; Firstly for simplicity, allowing thought to be focused on the land, the building or the process of building; as appropriate but secondly to allow pre-approval and ‘deemed to satisfy’ routes of compliance and so ensure that it’s application is adding value, not repetition.  Finally, the structure aligns with Building Information Modelling (BIM), and specifically UNICLASS 2015 to aid efficient assessment processes in the future.

Pre-Approval and deemed to satisfy routes

HQM has been designed to encourage pre-approval of solutions and processes that are ‘deemed to satisfy’ the standards of the scheme.  This helps to ensure greater flexibility, reducing repetition in application and evidence whilst maintaining robustness of the process and its outcome. There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved:

  • Pre-approval within the “My Home” section for common elements of house design and where elements of the home are manufactured off-site.
  • Pre-approval for company processes quality control and customer support systems for issues within the “Knowledge Sharing” section.
  • Site outline scoring within the “Our Surroundings” section, linking with BREEAM Communities for larger scale developments.
  • Recognition of established certification schemes to provide evidence of compliance across issue(s where these have been pre-approved as being comparable to the HQM requirements; for example, schemes under consideration include; Passivhaus, Saint Gobain Multi-Comfort, HBF Customer satisfaction survey, Considerate Construction, Secure by Design and potentially more.

Providing data to others

As well as accepting data and certification from other schemes to facilitate cost – effective assessment, a key element that we are exploring is the potential for HQM to provide access to aggregated data for other stakeholders.  This will develop overtime, but could for example be used by home builders for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting and marketing as well as financial institutions including mortgage lenders, investors and insurers as another means of measuring risk and informing relevant policies and investment decisions.

Process and robustness of assessment

To ensure independence, competence and impartiality in its application HQM will follow the same processes and governance as our other 3rd party certification schemes such as BREEAM.  BRE Global is working hard to reduce the burdens associated with this system through greater digitisation and flexibility in the application of processes. Therefore HQM operations, including quality assurance and certification of assessments and assessor competency will follow international standards on conformity assessment, to which BREEAM is already accredited by the UK Accreditation Services (UKAS).

Scope of HQM

The Home Quality Mark is a scheme designed and developed for new build housing in the UK.  The BREEAM UK Domestic Refurbishment scheme applies to refurbishment of existing buildings.  Once the HQM is operational, we will seek to understand how the benefits of HQM can be used for existing homes in the UK and new and existing homes internationally, aligning or evolving with current BREEAM schemes in these areas.

Devolved regions

HQM will be operational in all UK constituent countries (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and other Crown Dependencies that use SAP).  Differences in technical standards will occur where there is a difference in baseline Building Regulations.  In Scotland, HQM will also align with and show performance against Domestic Section 7 Sustainability.

The Technical Standard

As described above, HQM is structured into three main sections; Our Surroundings, My Home and Knowledge Sharing. This consultation document outlines the proposed technical criteria and assessment methods that make-up these sections. As this is a consultation document first and foremost it should not been seen as a final technical guide or used to demonstrate and communicate performance of a dwelling against HQM. Once we have received and incorporated feedback from this consultation process, the content of the scheme may change. Furthermore, issues are not set out in sufficient detail to allow formal assessment, this is particularly true of those issues where we are asking specific questions of industry via this consultation process.

A key technical principle of HQM is that of “rigour”, A number of issues have more than one route available for achieving credits.  These are described as either foundation or comprehensive.  This allows credits to be awarded where some evidence is available (but the credits are capped in such instances), but where there is greater confidence in the level of performance as a result of the robustness of evidence available, more credits can be awarded. The draft technical standard can be download from here shortly.


The scoring for HQM has been based on the same weightings and scoring methodology that underpin BREEAM albeit tailored to the needs of the new build housing sector.  Industry has already been consulted on this process and these weightings will be revisited on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to represent a consensus view of relative priorities. Where potential to impact specific BREEAM categories is different in the domestic sector, this has been justified.

In HQM the total score is out of 500 credits – and the weightings are accounted for within the credit allocation, meaning that credits are of equal value across the whole scheme.  This creates a simple way of comparing issues and determining their contribution to an overall star rating. In order to create the right balance of credits, a certain proportion of credits must be achieved in each section in order to achieve particular star ratings. The indicator scoring has been consulted on over the course of the development of HQM, with private and social house builders, assessors and other experts.  It is something that we welcome further feedback on. A simple scoring sheet can be viewed here shortly.

What happens next?

The deadline for responses is 4th September 2015. Comments and suggestions from this consultation exercise will be fed into the development of HQM and used to inform the final version of the standard, which we intend to publish in October 2015. At this time the scheme will also open for licence applications from potential HQM assessors, registration of sites for assessment and subsequently applications for formal certification of assessments.