Welsh Government calls for consultation into improving the Welsh Housing Quality Standard

The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) was originally introduced in 2002 and has been successful in raising the quality of social homes in Wales.

By the end of 2020 almost all of social housing was reported to have met the 2002 Standard1. The Government feel this level of quality must be maintained and stretched to further improve quality, taking account of changes and expectations in, and impacts from, the wider world such as climate change and technical advancements in building fabric.

Over the last two decades, Welsh Government, together with Social Landlords, have invested billions of pounds to significantly improve and maintain the quality of social homes across Wales. The existing WHQS contained energy efficiency (affordable warmth) requirements but these have been boosted significantly to reflect decarbonisation ambitions and to minimise energy bills for tenants. Setting a standard which is both bold and achievable is highly complex and so the Welsh Government sought the industry views on the proposals.

You can read the consultation questions here

Elmhurst responded in support of the revised standards but made the following points:

  • Elmhurst is of the opinion that the EPC is the only method for measuring carbon emissions in homes that is currently easily available and ready to use.
  • Each home is different and clearly not all properties will be capable of achieving an EPC rating of A and the EPC will be able to deliver its potential, thus providing a clearer pathway for landlords when assessing their housing stock.
  • Although this would appear to be an ambitious target, Elmhurst would encourage a clearer position on how the standard will be achieved. Insulating homes and installing new heating systems (such as air source heat pumps) will reduce energy costs and move households away from fuel poverty. To achieve the environment impact of 92 installations of new technologies must be considered along with a 'whole house' approach when carrying out changes.
  •  Elmhurst would encourage decision making to improve the energy efficiency of homes be based on three factors, which we refer to as the golden triangle.:
    • The asset rating
    • occupancy rating 
    • energy consumption
  • Assets Rating –the predicted energy performance of the building based on nominal occupancy patters, which is what the EPC returns currently.
  • The Occupancy Rating – the predicted energy performance of the building with its current occupants energy consumption – the buildings actual energy performance. One without the other misses the opportunity to achieve the required targets set whether that be a carbon, cost or energy metric.

In effect a Retrofit PAS 2035 solution.


Read the Welsh Housing Quality Standard 2023


Article Published: 04/08/22

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