Technical Standards for Homes

BRE develop and operate a number of technical standards for the assessment and certification of new and existing homes, including Home Quality Mark, BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment, BREEAM International New Construction and Code for Sustainable Homes.

Each standard enables house builders or housing providers to demonstrate the quality and added benefits of your new or refurbished home – such as being likely to need less maintenance, being cheaper to run, better located, and more able to cope with the demands of a changing climate. And for the home owner independent certification provides reassurance, givinf confidence in quality and impartial information on aspects of design, construction or refurbishment. Further information on and links to our technical standards for homes is provided below.

Home Quality Mark (UK)

The Home Quality Mark (HQM) is the badge of a better home. It enables house builders to showcase the quality of their homes, and to distinguish them from other houses on the market.

HQM provides impartial information from independent experts on a new home’s quality. It clearly indicates to home buyers and renters the overall expected costs, health and wellbeing benefits, and environmental footprint associated with living in the home. In short, HQM helps everyone to fully understand the quality, performance and attributes of a new-build home.

HQM has two elements, a five-star rating system that gives the overall picture of a home’s quality, and a set of indicators on individual aspects of its performance – such as build quality, running costs and health benefits.

Use the links below to discover more about HQM

HQM Website

HQM Blogs

Technical Guide


Training Opportunities

Find HQM Assessors

BREEAM UK Domestic Refurbishment

Helping to improve the sustainability and environmental performance of existing, residential dwellings.

This UK standard allows developers and designers to demonstrate their environmental credentials, promote better design and give confidence to their customers. It also helps planners, regulators and asset managers i.e. Registered Social Landlords, to set standards for refurbishment, and provides a market-focused label for more sustainable and higher quality refurbishments.

Download the UK Domestic RFO standard

Discover more about our refurbishment and fit out standards

BREEAM International

In addition to assessing commercial buildings the scope of the BREEAM International New Construction standard includes residential developments.

The assessment criteria and process focuses on the design of the residential development, from concept stage right through to construction. Accounting for indoor, local and global impacts and opportunities, it helps house builders and developers enhance the quality of their development making for a more attractive property to investors and home owners alike.

Download the International New Construction standard

Discover more about our New Construction standards

Code for Sustainable Homes

BREEAM relationship with the UK Government owned Standard

The Code for Sustainable Homes (CS, launched in 2007 is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes. It was developed by BRE, but it is a UK Government owned standard.

BRE act as advisors on technical issues relating to maintenance and development of the technical contents of the CSH standard and manage implementation of the scheme through assessment and certification services, under contract to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Where is the CSH required?

For anyone wishing to understand when to apply the Code for Sustainable Homes to their development, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions on the Housing Standards Review here.

Scope and Scoring

The CSH covers nine categories of sustainable design:

  • Energy and CO2 emissions (M)
  • Water (M)
  • Materials (M)
  • Surface Water Run-off (M)
  • Waste (M)
  • Pollution
  • Health and Wellbeing (M)
  • Management
  • Ecology

There are mandatory performance requirements in 6 categories (denoted by an M above). All other performance requirements are flexible. It is possible to achieve an overall level of between zero and six depending on the mandatory standards and proportion of flexible standards achieved.


Assessments are carried out in two phases:

  1. An initial assessment is carried out at the design stage. This is based on detailed documentary evidence and commitments which results in an interim certificate of compliance.
  2. Final assessment and certification is carried out at the post construction stage. Based on the design stage review, this includes a confirmation of compliance, including site records and visual inspection, and results in a final certificate of compliance.

Download the CSH Technical Guidance Document