The Welsh Government has unveiled its ‘Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021’, which aims to “set a bold new standard for new affordable homes”.

The standard promotes low carbon designs as well as moving away from fossil fuels for domestic heating and hot water systems.

In the new standard, it says that homes must represent value for money, and that “Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is a preferred delivery solution”.

This includes various construction methods and technologies that can either replace traditional methods or complement them.

The guidance also sets out how new homes must achieve EPC A (SAP92 or greater) “through the minimum fabric standard” as well as thinking about the use of recycled materials and reusing buildings that are already constructed.

There is also a requirement to ensure space standards are adhered to and there is a heavy focus on ensure that people can easily have guests over to stay, with toilets, showers etc not coming off communal rooms.

There is also a host of safety requirements that need to be met and a requirement for family homes to come with a garden for children to play in.

In a statement, Minister for Climate Change (who also has the housing brief), Julie James, said: “WDQR2021 as it is known, sets new quality requirements for social housing centred on flexibility, space and sustainability.  It ensures social housing will lead the way in reducing carbon emissions, with private developers expected to build to the same low carbon requirements by 2025.

“Beyond low carbon targets, the requirements also stipulate new properties to be ‘gigabit ready’, meaning fibre optic broadband or gigabit wireless technology is available, alongside a choice of internet service providers. Where this isn’t in place, infrastructure to enable future installation without disruption must be provided.

“These changes, along with a recognition of the need to consider space for home working, are in direct response to the pandemic, which saw much of the country needing to learn and work from home.

“The new standards also favour good design and generous space to ensure people live well within their homes.

“This is not only intended to boost wellbeing and keep communities together, but to respond to the changing needs of residents, for example ample floor space to ensure adaptations for older and disabled people can be facilitated.

“Modern methods of construction, such as the use of timber and factory-built homes are also championed in the new guidelines.”

You can read the full document here.