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Housing associations and Building for Life

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) currently uses Building for Life as one of their design standards, so housing associations applying for funding to the National Affordable Housing Programme need to use Building for Life.

Building for Life is as a core performance standard for design and quality in social housing in England used by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).  If your housing association is applying to the HCA for funding, for example as part of the National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP), you will need to use Building for Life to demonstrate to funders that your proposed development has been well planned and designed.

How should housing associations use Building for Life?

You should submit a design statement showing how your development addresses the 20 Building for Life criteria.

You should ask your design team to produce your design statement. This could be incorporated into the design and access statement or could be done as an informal assessment. Two resources are available to help them gather the evidence and produce the report:

  • Evaluating housing proposals step by step shows which types of supporting information can be used as evidence for meeting the Building for Life criteria
  • Achieving Building for Life is a publication from the Housing Corporation (HCA) to help housing associations with Building for Life.

If the HCA approves your funding application, your development may be subject to a formal assessment as part of the standard impact audit regime. Your local planning authority may also offer you a formal assessment as part of pre-planning negotiations.

You do not need to enter the Building for Life awards as part of your application for funding to the NAHP or HCA.

Should housing associations enter the Building for Life awards?

If you think that your completed development has excellent design quality, you should apply for a Building for Life award.   Several housing associations have won Building for Life awards, such as Northern Counties Housing Association for Rostron Brow in Stockport in 2008.