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Zero-carbon price blow for brick and block building

It may be more expensive than first thought to build houses to levels 4 and 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes when using traditional building materials, according to a new report.

Tarmac Building Products, developer Lovell and the University of Nottingham’s Department of the Built Environment, built two homes using brick and block material – one to Code for Sustainable Homes level four and one to level six.

Both properties are traditional semis; the level four home could be built for £6,401.45 more than a typical home of this size, less than the £9,000 previously estimated. However, the zero carbon, level six home cost an additional £37,762.95 each, much more than the industry suggestions of £31,000. The extra facilities used to bring the house up to Level 6 included a super-insulating envelope with a biomass boiler, solar hot water system and photovoltaics.

Darren Waters, Tarmac Building Products, executive director – commercial, said the aim of the project was to try and develop a commercial house type which can be built using traditional products and techniques.

“The results of the project also provide the industry with an accurate financial indication of building low and zero-carbon homes. While, it is good news for housebuilders in the medium-term that the costs for code level four are lower than previously expected, the higher costs of the code level six suggest that previous industry forecasts should be revised upwards”.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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