About Building for Life

Abode, Newhall, Harlow

Building for Life is the national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods.

Good quality housing design can improve social wellbeing and quality of life by reducing crime, improving public health, easing transport problems and increasing property values. Building for Life promotes design excellence and celebrates best practice in the house building industry.

The 20 Building for Life criteria embody our vision of functional, attractive and sustainable housing. New housing developments are scored against the criteria to assess the quality of their design.

Read about the history of Building for Life to see how it has grown to be the national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods since being founded in 2001.


Building for Life assessments score the design quality of planned or completed housing developments against the 20 Building for Life criteria. Anyone can do an informal assessment but formal assessments, now required by several agencies, can only be carried out by an accredited Building for Life assessor.


Building for Life awards are given to new housing schemes that demonstrate a commitment to high design standards and good place making. The awards are judged by a panel of experts each year.


Building for Life standards are given to all entries to the Building for Life awards that score more than 14/20.  Schemes that score 14/20 or 15/20 receive the silver standard while schemes scoring 16/20 or more receive the gold standard.

Video explanation of Building for Life

The easiest way to understand how Building for Life works is to watch our case study of Accordia in Cambridge, an exemplar sustainable neighbourhood:

If you can't see the video(s) go to www.buildingforlife.org/redirects/videos

Read the transcript of the video

Who runs Building for Life?

Building for Life is a partnership between several national agencies. It is led by CABE and the Home Builders Federation.