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The Home Quality Mark (HQM) aims to make new homes better. Better for our pockets, our wellbeing and our environment. And at the very heart of the HQM scheme is the need to deliver quality homes.

Quality Homes are high on the public agenda, but it is not always easy to achieve, particularly when house-building sites become more challenging as we want to protect our green landscape, but also build more homes that people can afford. At the same time, consumers are rightly become more knowledgeable and demanding.

We want HQM to have real value to the consumer and to those that help people buy or rent their home (such as financial institutions, agents and planners).

HQM is being updated – HQM ONE is currently out for consultation and proposes significant changes to the scoring in the scheme so it can better achieve its’ aims.

What do we know?

Industry and consumers alike have given us invaluable feedback during HQM’s beta stage over the last two years. Two recurring points which have come up are that:

Flexibility in the scheme is key.

New homes are designed in different ways, with different procurement, different attributes, in different locations, and to cater for different needs and wants. So a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not going to work!

People want to know how a HQM certified home is ‘better than the rest’.

HQM certification needs to offer certainty about what the certificate means. This is tricky where scores can be achieved in completely different ways.

HQM must strike a balance between these two needs, and HQM ONE is taking this challenge on!

The Proposals – has the home met the “Mark”

HQM ONE introduces some baselines that will provide consumers with certainty as to what HQM certification means, whilst retaining the benefits of the scheme’s flexibility. No mean feat!

There are two elements to the proposal, this blog will look at the minimum requirement to achieve any Star Rating, while a second blog will look at the Indicators (My Costs, My Wellbeing and My Footprint) and the proposed backstops.

Both are designed to ensure the robustness and credibility of the scheme.

Star rating – ‘Minimum Requirements’

Minimum requirements are criteria that must be met by every home certifying against the HQM standard. These set the baseline that all homes with an HQM certificate need to meet, to assure consumers looking to buy or rent a new home.

These ‘minimum requirements’ are considered critical to the outcome of the home, either as a fundamental process that can dramatically impact outcomes, or crucial information that must be communicated to the homeowner/potential homeowner.

The proposed ‘minimum requirements’ are summarised below:

For full details of the ‘minimum requirements’ please refer to the HQM ONE draft consultation scheme manual.

 

What’s next?

HQM ONE is out for consultation until Friday 16th February 2018. To give us your thoughts on the proposed minimum requirements, please see further details of the consultation here. We’d love to hear from you.

Look out for the second blog relating to the Indicators, and the proposed backstops.

 

Jennifer Dudley
About the Author
New Homes Scheme Manager at BRE.

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