NHBC Building Standards revisions for 1st Jan 2019

NHBC is the National House Building Council. NHBC offers warranties and insurance on new build homes to an array of well-known big-name house builders down to individual builders who may build one new build home a year. NHBC maintains a building standards policy document that all builders wanting to provide a warranty or insurance for their customers must adhere to. You can find this building standards policy document here.

NHBC has provided warranty cover for around 30% of the UK’s housing stock so they’ve seen their share of both cowboy building and exemplary building. Coming into affect on 1st January 2019, NHBC have released some changes to keep these building standards as transparent and as useful as possible.

What are the changes compared to 2018’s building standards?

  • Supporting of advancements of technology of light steel structural framing
  • Revised guidance on combi boilers
  • The acceptance of timber frame designs under certain conditions
  • 7 minor technical changes including clarification of phrases, the addition of the allowance of plastic roof clips, and updated path widths deemed acceptable

The 2019 NHBC Building Standard changes in a little more detail

Below are the 3 major technical changes with further explanation. Find out more about the 7 minor technical changes from NHBC Standards 2019.

‘Light steel framing’ technology support with NHBC guidance for structural frames and walls (Chapter 6.10)

NHBC have added, throughout Chapter 6.10, their support and recognition of the advancement of using light steel framing in modern house building. The amended building standard document highlights that light steel frame structures do comply with technical requirements and standards if they meet certain requirements to elements including thickness, sheathing, and structural certification. They also details the way that load-bearing walls should be constructed, as demonstrated by just one of a series of images below.

Changes to NHBC guidance on the use of combination boilers (Chapter 8.1)

The NHBC advise that there are only 2 acceptable situations for the use of combination boilers in new build homes. ‘Instantenous systems’ aren’t deemed eco-friendly enough due to their production of hot water on demand and lack of water storage. Combination boilers can only be used where ‘simultaneous demand for hot water is limited’ and where ‘storage combination boilers have the capacity as required’. Further information about requirements can be found in Table 5.

Allowing timber frame designs from certain manufacturer’s that hold certifications (Chapter 6.2)

External timber framed walls are now deemed acceptable in NHBC Building Standards 2019 if the manufacturer holds a Gold status from Structural Timber Association’s ‘Assure Scheme’. When this has been verified there is no need for the builder to complete any futher forms or for the use to be subject to review. There are some caveats as to what needs to be reviewed by NHBC but this is only when components like closed panels (which can’t be inspected on site) are present. An image above demonstrates just some of the requirements.

For the full NHBC Building Standards document valid from 1st January 2019, see the online copy NHBC have provided. At present this document is online-only. 

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