BFL introduction - Ciaran Regan


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Presentation from the 1st Building For Life assessor meeting in Yorkshire and the Humber Region.

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  • Welcome to Building for Life assessor training First part of the process of accreditation
  • What do we mean by “good design” Going back to Vitruvius, good design is the combination of Functionality, Firmness and Delight. It is about being fit for purpose, durable, well built and pleasing to the mind and the eye. A good design will achieve a balance between these three factors. You can apply this at any scale – whether you are thinking about the layout of your kitchen, the rooms in your house or the layout of your neighbourhood.
  • Places like this are not only unpleasant to live in, but they are also a very poor legacy to leave our children.
  • Between 2005 and 2007, CABE carried out an audit of new housing schemes across England to get a sense of where housing standards were.
  • The results were not very promising. The national picture showed…
  • The Government has been putting in place a policy framework aimed at raising the quality of new housing developments. Putting sustainability at the heart of development has to be the first step. For example, PPS 1 sets out a requirement for all new development to make a positive contribution to improving the quality of life in the wider neighbourhood. This may sound obvious, but it was quite a new way of thinking about development. Previously, the focus had been purely on preventing any detrimental effects. The approach enshrined in PPS 1 is more ambitious and more demanding, and this is good, because it is important to make sure new development makes places better for the wider community rather than “not making them worse”. Manual for streets: Replaces DB 32 Cuts across disciplines to set highways engineering within the context of creating successful spaces for everyone to share Represents a major culture change in the world of highway planning
  • The Building for Life standard works like an umbrella, under which you can gather together how a scheme performs across the range of national and local guidance and policy.
  • The idea behind BfL was to bring all these policies and guidance into one clear framework for best practice in neighbourhood design.
  • CABE joined forces with the HBF to form the Building for Life partnership. Soon after, English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation lent the partnership their support.
  • Building for Life takes principles from the existing policies and guidance (such as PPS 3 and By Design) and breaks them down into a set of 20 Criteria, also referred to as the Building for Life Standard. The Criteria are grouped in four chapters: Character, Streets, Parking, and Pedestrianisation Design and Construction Environment and Community
  • You may also be aware of the Design and Access Statement that you need to submit with planning applications since May of 2006. CABE has produced some guidance on how to write these, which is available on our website. T his guidance sets out seven headings. You may now be thinking: “ 20 criteria – 7 headings” isn’t this all rather confusing? But the good news is that the 20 criteria cover the same ground as the 7 headings, so you can use BfL to structure your Design and Access statements, but you can also use the Design and Access statement to get an idea of how a design is going to perform against BfL.
  • NOTE TO SPEAKERS: PLEASE SUM UP SLIDE BRIEFLY RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH EVERY CRITERION The first set of criteria are about seeing the development in the wider context. It’s important to have good access to public transport, and local facilities and amenities. It is also important to make sure that the homes provided meet the needs of the local community. And finally, the design of the scheme should include some features which offset the environmental impact of the development. In the first instance, we would look at the rating of the development in terms of the Code for Sustainable Homes and/or the EcoHomes standard, but we would also look at other features, such as micro-generation ( i.e. Photovoltaic/Solar Collectors/Windmills etc.) or sustainable urban drainage systems
  • NOTE TO SPEAKERS: PLEASE SUM UP SLIDE BRIEFLY RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH EVERY CRITERION The second chapter of criteria is all about the overall character of the scheme: whether it has a distinctive sense of place, whether the buildings are carefully designed, and whether it is easy to find your way around. Would you easily be able to describe the neighbourhood to a friend a few days after you visited? If you lived there, would you be able to tell a friend how to find your house?
  • NOTE TO SPEAKERS: PLEASE SUM UP SLIDE BRIEFLY RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH EVERY CRITERION The third chapter of criteria is all about the streets that make up the development. These are the key spaces which everybody uses and shares on a daily basis. For people to get on well and with each other and share a sense of community, these spaces need to work really well. It is important that there are good connections to key destinations nearby, so that it is easy to walk to the nearest shops, school, pub or park. And these routes need to feel safe – at all times of day and night. Secure by Design assessments can be a point of reference for this.
  • NOTE TO SPEAKERS: PLEASE SUM UP SLIDE BRIEFLY RATHER THAN GOING THROUGH EVERY CRITERION The final chapter is about the design and construction of the scheme. For example, “Is the design specific to the Scheme”: We know that many developers and house builders work with standard house types – and to an extent this is very justified. However, the standard elements of a design should be flexible enough to be able to be used successfully to contribute to a very specific response to the needs of the location. Each site will be a different shape, have different routes leading into and out of it, and have a different landscape, and the layout needs to be scheme-specific to respond well to each of these factors. The public spaces need to be well thought-through to avoid the kind of left-over areas that cause problems later on, because nobody knows what they are for, who they belong to, or who is responsible for them. A number of existing guidance relates to these points – HQI, SDS Buildings need to be adaptable too. If I get knocked down by a car tomorrow and need a wheelchair – do I need to move to a new home, or can I make some changes to my home and stay put? Lifetime homes standard is one way this criterion might be addressed
  • On the left: Standard house types Narrow pavements Inadequate car parking Minimal landscaping Poor lighting Poor sense of place (where is this?) On the right: Open green space Sympathetic landscaping Cars and pedestrians share space comfortably More distinctive sense of place This example: Highgate, Durham BfL Award winner, 2005
  • On the Left: Design by committee ? Incoherent hotch-potch of elements (archway, lean-to, bay windows, roofline) Narrow and badly lit walkways through to area beyond – unpleasant and dangerous On the right Similar elements (archway, bay window, varied roofline), but more successfully arranged into a coherent design This example: Upton, Northampton BfL award 2007
  • On the left: Over-engineered for residential neighbourhood / low traffic volume / low speed Visual cue for high-speed environment Incoherent and contradictory (speed bump) On the right Low key highways infrastrudture Successfully deals with far higher volume Moderates speed through variety of design features, e.g. surfacing This Example: Fore Street / North Street, Taunton Somerset
  • On the left: Inefficient layout No overlook Poor lighting No landscaping On the right: Good overlook Adequate lighting Sympathetic landscaping This example: Waterstone Park, Greenhithe BfL Award 2007
  • On the left: Incoherent mix of materials Narrow squeeze between parked cars Bad landscaping (open driver side door to step into flowerbed, earth from flowerbed gets trodden into house) On the right: Good arrangement of pedestrian access and car parking Coherent landscaping and use of materials This example: Waterstone Park, Greenhithe BfL Award 2007
  • (optional) I use this photograph to illustrate this point, because the scheme you see here, completed last year, replaced a scheme which was only built in 1986. The housing built only twenty years ago was so poor that it had to be demolished, representing a huge cost in terms of the disruption of peoples lives, wasted money and resources. Putting Building for Life into action is all about preventing these situations and improving the overall quality of housing
  • Building for Life is also about celebrating best practice. The award isn’t about any one style, it’s about recognising quality.
  • The idea is to incorporate BfL throughout the entire development process, from design to construction. BfL can be applied at these different stages…Get clients thinking about it from the very start…Then celebrate and promote best practice at the end of it, and monitor the improvements being made.
  • The partners in Building for Life – and the Government – have made some key commitments to this quality standard. In its Quality and Standards, the Housing Corporation has made a requirement that all schemes seeking Grant support should achieve at least 12 out of the 20 criteria, and aspire to achieve 14 out of 20. The partners in Building for Life – and the Government – have made some key commitments to this quality standard. In its Quality and Standards, the Housing Corporation has made a requirement that all schemes seeking Grant support should achieve at least 12 out of the 20 criteria, and aspire to achieve 14 out of 20.
  • But as a client, how do you know how a scheme is going to perform against the criteria? How can you demonstrate ton the Housing Corporations that your scheme is up to scratch. CABE has prepared some guidance, which is available on our Website, to show what kind of information the Housing Corporation - or a suitably qualified assessor acting on their behalf – might look to in working out whether a given design is likely to fulfil the criteria. There is a page that explains each criteria in length that also contains links to the types of drawings that explain how this criteria has been met.
  • BFL introduction - Ciaran Regan

    1. 3. Building for Life assessor network <ul><li>CABE training one person in each local authority to conduct BfL assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Over 300 trained so far </li></ul><ul><li>Assessors will: </li></ul><ul><li>- lead the use of BfL in evaluating proposals </li></ul><ul><li>at pre-planning </li></ul><ul><li>- support the annual monitoring process </li></ul><ul><li>- champion BfL within their authority </li></ul>
    2. 4. Today’s training <ul><li>Photo site visit </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-planning assessment exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Building for Life assessment: how to and FAQs </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps to become an assessor </li></ul><ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul>
    3. 5. Delight Does it look good? What is ‘good design’? Functionality Does it work? Firmness Will it last?
    4. 6. Is this good design?
    5. 7. The CABE housing audit <ul><li>100 schemes in each audit: </li></ul><ul><li>By top 10 home builders </li></ul><ul><li>In average price band </li></ul><ul><li>Schemes of 20+ dwellings </li></ul><ul><li>Completed within last 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Mix of size and locations </li></ul><ul><li>Post-occupancy survey </li></ul>
    6. 8. 293 schemes completed between 2001-2006 The national picture
    7. 9. PPS 1 : Sustainable development as the core principle underpinning planning Manual for Streets Collaborating on design across departments PPS 3 & CSH : Housing PPS 12: Integrating sustainability appraisals into the planning process Best practice: the policy framework
    8. 10. Building for Life PPS 1 PPS 3 Code for Sustainable Homes Lifetime Homes Secure by Design Safer Place Local LDFs Local SPDs
    9. 11. Enter Building for Life
    10. 12. The Building for Life Partnership <ul><li>Led by: </li></ul><ul><li>CABE </li></ul><ul><li>Home Builders Federation (HBF) </li></ul>
    11. 13. <ul><li>Environment and Community </li></ul><ul><li>Character </li></ul><ul><li>Streets, parking & pedestrianisation </li></ul><ul><li>Design and Construction </li></ul>The 20 Criteria
    12. 14. <ul><li>Environment and Community </li></ul><ul><li>Character </li></ul><ul><li>Streets, parking & pedestrianisation </li></ul><ul><li>Design and Construction </li></ul><ul><li>Use </li></ul><ul><li>Amount </li></ul><ul><li>Layout </li></ul><ul><li>Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Landscaping </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance </li></ul><ul><li>Access </li></ul>The 20 Criteria
    13. 15. Environment & Community <ul><li>Does the development provide community facilities, such as a school, parks, play areas, shops, pubs or cafes? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there an accommodation mix that reflects the needs and aspirations of the local community? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a tenure mix that reflects the needs of the local community? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the development have easy access to public transport? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the development have any features that reduce its environmental impact? </li></ul>
    14. 16. Character <ul><li>Is the design specific to the scheme? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the scheme exploit existing buildings, landscape or topography? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the scheme feel like a place with distinctive character? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the buildings and layout make it easy to find your way around? </li></ul><ul><li>Are streets defined by a well-structured building layout? </li></ul>
    15. 17. Streets, Parking & Pedestrianisation <ul><li>Does the building layout take priority over the streets and car parking, so that the highways do not dominate? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the car parking well integrated and situated so it supports the street scene? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the streets pedestrian, cycle and vehicle friendly? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the scheme integrate with existing streets, paths and surrounding development? </li></ul><ul><li>Are public spaces and pedestrian routes overlooked and do they feel safe? </li></ul>
    16. 18. Design and Construction <ul><li>Is public space well designed and does it have suitable management arrangements in place? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the buildings exhibit architectural quality? </li></ul><ul><li>Do internal spaces and layout allow for adaptation, conversion or extension? </li></ul><ul><li>Has the scheme made use of advances in construction or technology that enhance its performance, quality and attractiveness? </li></ul><ul><li>Do buildings or spaces outperform statutory minima, such as building regulations? </li></ul>
    17. 19. Thinking it through: Character Sense of place Cr 8
    18. 20. Thinking it through: Design and construction Architectural quality Cr 17
    19. 21. Thinking it through: Streets, Parking & Pedestrianisation Appropriate street design Cr 13
    20. 22. Thinking it through: Streets, Parking & Pedestrianisation Overlooked public space Cr 15
    21. 23. Thinking it through: Design & Construction Well-designed public space Cr 16
    22. 24. Realising the vision
    23. 25. Promoting best practice The Building for Life awards Silver Silver Gold Pepys Estate Deptford, London Hyde Housing BPTW Mealhouse Brow Stockport, Manchester Northern Counties HA TADW Great Bow Yard Langport, Somerset South West Eco Homes Stride Treglown
    24. 26. Points of engagement Annual Monitoring Returns Housing audits Standard / Awards Design Review HCA Pre-application assessment Internal client review Brief Training DESIGN PLANNING CONSTRUCTION
    25. 27. Quality targets & planning assessments <ul><li>Homes and Communities Agency: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14/20 on all owned land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12/20 for all grant supported housing (NAHP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(10/20 for rural/street fronted infill schemes) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning authorities: Core strategy, SPD, planning discussions, monitoring </li></ul>
    26. 28. Assessment evidence guidance
    27. 29. <ul><li>at least one accredited assessor embedded in every LPA in England </li></ul><ul><li>additional independent accredited assessors </li></ul><ul><li>each assessor will be asked to submit at least 1 assessment p/a for quality monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>every BfL assessment will be registered with the Building for Life team </li></ul>Accredited Assessors: How it will work
    28. 30. <ul><li>look at proposed designs for new housing development and assess their potential to meet the Building for Life criteria </li></ul><ul><li>input into assessments of completed housing developments for Annual Monitoring Returns </li></ul><ul><li>embedded assessors do this as part of their work on a proposed development. They will do this as part of their everyday job. </li></ul><ul><li>independent assessors support embedded assessors in their work. Their work on BfL will be paid separately. </li></ul>Accredited Assessors: What they do
    29. 31. <ul><li>The assessors work will usually conclude with an evaluation report. </li></ul><ul><li>This report might be referred to by : </li></ul><ul><li>planning officers or by the planning committee </li></ul><ul><li>funders or landowners who have committed to a minimum standard </li></ul><ul><li>the researchers, panel and final judges for the Building for Life awards </li></ul>Accredited Assessors: What they do
    30. 32. Thank you [email_address] Also supported by English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and The Civic Trust