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Housing Quality Indicators

Housing Quality Indicators (HQIs) measure the quality of housing schemes funded by the HCA.

The HQI system is a measurement and assessment tool to evaluate housing schemes on the basis of quality rather than just cost. They incorporate the design standards required of affordable housing providers receiving funding through the National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP) and Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).

What the indicators measure

There are ten indicators that measure quality. Each indicator contains a series of questions that are completed by the applicant organisation. These indicators are:

  1. Location

  2. Site – visual impact, layout and landscaping

  3. Site – open space

  4. Site – routes and movement

  5. Unit – size

  6. Unit – layout

  7. Unit – noise, light, services & adaptability

  8. Unit – accessibility within the unit

  9. Unit – sustainability

  10. External environment - Building for Life

It is important to relate home design to the way in which people wish to live and the context in which their home is placed. For this reason, the indicators look not only at the unit and its design in detail (indicators 5-9), but also the context and surroundings (indicators 1-4 and 10).

Full details of the HQIs are available in the Housing Quality Indicators Form - PDF (466 KB).

HQI assessments

For the NAHP the anticipated HQI scores must be submitted at bid stage and bids are evaluated based on these scores. For the AHP, HQIs will continue to be used to measure the quality of schemes. HQI scores must be submitted to our  Investment Management System (IMS), alongside the input of other scheme information.

Delivery against the HCA’s affordable housing design standards, including HQI scores, will form part of the quarterly contract review meetings with AHP providers.

For both the NAHP, and the AHP, a full HQI assessment is required to be undertaken prior to funding draw down to help us to evaluate, compare and monitor the quality of housing developed. HQI assessments are recorded within a module of our IMS.

HQI calculator

We have developed an Excel spreadsheet HQI calculator to help partners complete HQI assessments. The calculator can be used as a stand-alone evaluation tool, and does not require IMS security access.

Please note that the calculator provides an indicative score, is not linked to IMS and does not replace the full HQI system. HQI assessments have to be completed through IMS prior to funding draw-down from the Affordable Housing Programe or earlier legacy programmes.

Current Version– for use with all new schemes (first published June 2010)

Housing Quality Indicator Calculator (corrected) - Excel (4.1 MB)

Previous Versions

The following are previous versions of the calculator which should only be used for scheme that were originally processed under these versions. For the avoidance of doubt the corrected version of the calculator above (June 2010)is the version that should be used for new schemes being assessed.

Housing Quality Indicator Calculator - Excel (4.1 MB) (first published September 2008)

Housing Quality Indicator Calculator - Excel (1.5 MB) (prior to September 2008)

Any queries regarding the operation of the calculator should be sent to

Calculator Q&As

Q1. The Spreadsheet does not allow the sections on Sustainability and/or Accessibility to be fully completed.

A1. Macros must be 'enabled' to allow the spreadsheet to function fully. Adjust security settings to "Medium" or "Low".

If Macros are enabled after values have been entered into boxes where the macro should be triggered the macro will not have run. Select another option (e.g. EcoHomes if you are looking to do a Code assessment under the sustainability tab, or "No" for Question 8.3.1 under the accessibility tab) and then reselect the correct option. 

Q2. Problems experienced when trying to use the spreadsheet with Apple Macs.

A2. There are compatibility issues when using the HQI spreadsheet with Macs. We do not have a specific Mac version and therefore Mac users should negotiate access to IMS (either as an investment partner or a consultant) and use the primary tool for undertaking HQI assessments in IMS.

HQI online learning tool

We have developed a set of free online learning resources that will help to guide you through different aspects of the HQI process.

You can use these HQI learning modules as a one off resource, or you can treat it as a user guide that you can keep coming back to help you complete your HQI bid.

There are nine modules:

  1. Introduction to HQI
  2. HQIs and the Funding Process
  3. Bidding
  4. The HQI methodology in IMS Part 1
  5. The HQI methodology in IMS Part 2
  6. The HQI methodology in IMS Part 3
  7. Storage requirements
  8. Approving an HQI Project
  9. HQI Calculator Spread sheet

The whole resource should take between 60 and 90 minutes to complete, but you can choose to do it in smaller chunks and the system will remember where you got to in each module.

If you are having difficulty accessing or seeing any of these resources please email for technical help.

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Capital Funding Guide

Rules and procedures for housing associations that have received grants through the Affordable Homes Programme
» view the guide